The transfer window and the uncertainties beyond

It’s scary to have too many possibilities, isn’t it? With more than two possibilities, we can never be sure what to expect and things have more tendency to go south from there. It’s anarchic and in a bad way. During the transfer window, players come and go unexpectedly, and most of the time, they leave a mess. A mess so big that no janitor would even dare to touch it.

Say Mario Balotelli for instance. Last year, the Italian came to Liverpool with a heavy burden of replacing the club’s precious talisman, Luis Suarez. Everyone knows that Balotelli is a loose cannon and you’d have to be crazy and on his level to be able to deal with him. Crazy people like Jose Mourinho and Roberto Mancini. Last year, Brendan Rodgers tried but like so many before him, he failed.

People might argue that Rodgers had a good reason because he managed to “tame” Suarez, but it’s not entirely true, is it? Everyone knows that Luis Suarez is batshit crazy but he always delivers. Despite his unfortunate antics, Suarez is a world class player. He’s good enough to play alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar and form a deadly trident at Barcelona.

The same thing doesn’t apply for Balotelli. When we talk about Luis Suarez, can anyone remember any stupid thing he’s done off the pitch? Because I can’t. Every single mistake Luis Suarez has made has been done during the game and, in his defence, I’d say he did it because he’s the best kind of professional – he’s willing to do whatever it takes to swing the results towards his favour and ultimately he’s a winner. A little bit sociopathic perhaps, but the results speak for themselves, don’t they?

Meanwhile, Mario Balotelli is always tangled in his off-the-field craziness. He has no self-control and he always drives everything to the ground. He lets down his teammates and himself. That’s Mario Balotelli. And I’m sorry for this but I have never actually seen him play to the supposed level he’s capable of except that one time when he bagged a brace against Germany at Euro 2012. At Milan, yes, he was pretty good, but that’s it. Not exceptional like Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Just good enough. Other than that? Zilch! And this year, Balotelli has become such a burden on Liverpool that they’ve shipped him off to AC Milan, the club they bought him from, for a cut price.

Last year also, besides bringing in Mario Balotelli, Liverpool also invested the tons of money they obtained from the Suarez sale with several underachievers. Dejan Lovren, Lazar Markovic, and Rickie Lambert, for example. When they came aboard, every Liverpudlian welcomed them with arms wide open. They were right to do that, too.

Lovren and Lambert – along with Adam Lallana – were pivotal parts of Southampton’s decent Premier League campaign in the previous season. Lazar Markovic? Well, every football fan worth their salt knows that this scrawny lad is one of Europe’s biggest talents, especially after that stellar season with Benfica where he was a part of the team that reached the Europa League final. On paper, good signings.

Sadly, though, none of Lovren, Markovic, or Lambert managed to deliver and there is no one in the world that can explain why they failed. They were purchased because they had a good track record and these days, who doesn’t do any research before doing something? You and I google before buying something and look at the all important facts before we make a purchase, right? I’m sure that whoever’s responsible for Liverpool transfers has already done his homework before making those purchases but it just hasn’t worked out so far, or in Lambert’s case, didn’t work out at all. That’s football, but ultimately in a market place where transfer fees are becoming more and more inflated, the risk has grown and the reward is harder to achieve. Quick results were needed and quick results weren’t delivered, meaning Liverpool essentially went backwards and the signings ultimately failed.

The risky thing about the transfer window is that nobody knows exactly what will happen. You can break the transfer record and what you get is a player whose house was broken into and got unsettled because of it. Or, sometimes, you pay 50 odd million to acquire a world class striker and he can’t score in a new environment. Those things have happened, and not just once or twice. Some get more exposure given their nature, sure, but we all know it’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are a lot more failed transfers out there that, for their level, are big deals but like so many others, fail to live up to their billing.

Finally, the main talking point here is that we, as football fans, can never rely too much on transfers. The hype sets in and people immediately jump to a conclusion before seeing their player play a second for their new club but ultimately – how can we be so certain that the said player will definitely deliver? Why is there so much hype around new additions that could so easily flop?

Maurizio Sarri, the newly appointed coach of Napoli, said in an interview that transfers are undermining the good old hard work, which is why he’s decided to stick with a lot of the players that were already there and improve their work rate, attitude and desire instead of opting to sign loads of new faces and essentially not knowing what you’re going to get. In response to that, Napoli’s owner and president, Aurelio De Laurentiis, also said that he hasn’t seen his team work this hard since Walter Mazzarri’s era. Well, of course Sarri still brought some players in – including two from his old club Empoli in Mirko Valdifiori and Elseid Hysaj – to support his plan, but what he said certainly makes sense. You can’t just bring players in for the sake of it and expect them to succeed without any real plan, unless you’re Louis van Gaal of course! *Coughs*

By Yoga Cholandha – @yogacholandha

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