One of Anfield's best, bought from Ajax.
The upcoming Euros give me an opportunity to discuss something that's been on my mind since the Jordan Henderson purchase: the idea of stockpiling expensive English talent rather than looking for equal or greater players at a lesser price abroad. More after the jump...
Right now, the England national team isn't doing so well with the recent news of Frank Lampard being injured. They've never been successful in international tournaments and the upcoming Euros don't look to be any different. Because of their global failures, the FA is setting standards for how many England born players must be on each team in the Premier League. Lately, Liverpool haven't been dealing correctly with these new standards(don't worry, I'll explain).
The issue is that when I look at the stars of the Premier League, they are mostly from other countries. A few examples would be Robin van Persie, David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany, etc. Our best player is arguably Luis Suarez, whose home country of Uraguay is across the globe. Having English players play in England however does not improve their quality. Many of the best players from Brazil, Argentina, Netherlands, and Spain play outside of their home countries but yet these same counties are immensely successful in international play. The real issue is the quality of youth systems, an area where England struggles.
Now to how this connects with Liverpool. Obviously, the FA wants teams to field as many English players as possible, no matter how irrelevant that is to the English national team's success. I think that Liverpool should respond to the FA by expanding and bettering its youth academy, fillling it with English players for the future. However, first-team funds should almost exclusively be spent on bargains and hidden gems from around the world. We payed more money for Andy Carroll than for Luis Suarez, but I don't need to tell you who is the better player. The English talent that we will have will be very cheap because they'll have come up through our system. The young talent we deem as excess will then be sold at an inflated price to teams who haven't developed their youth academy enough and are helplessly throwing money at teams like us.
I think that there are some wonderful examples of how cheap foreign talent can be when looking at the market at the moment. Ibrahim Afelley, a Dutch winger often linked to Liverpool, is said to be available for 6M. Meanwhile, a few years ago, West Ham striker Carlton Cole was linked to us at a number above 12M. Again, tell me who is better. Another example of my point is Shinji Kagawa, a 23 year old midfielder said to be available in the 15-20M range.
In conclusion, this summer should be spent mostly trying to locate bargains outside of England to help the first team, but also spent growing the youth academy. Doing this seems to be the correct pathway to getting an edge over everyone else, and getting ourselves back in the Champions League.