Klopp wanted Werner transfer… Liverpool would be wise to heed Ferguson’s warning on perils of champions standing still – The SunJune 7, 2020
SIR ALEX FERGUSON, the man who once ‘knocked Liverpool off their f***ing perch’, claimed a title-winning side should always build from a position of strength.
The old Manchester United godfather would never allow a successful team to rest on its laurels and would always look to freshen things up as he amassed his 13 Premier League crowns.
Jurgen Klopp, by his own admission, will not be able to follow that advice as Liverpool seek to build their own dynasty of dominance in English football.
These are unprecedented times as football heads out of its coronavirus lockdown with severe financial scars.
But the Anfield manager’s comments to Sky Germany, addressing Liverpool’s failure to sign German striker Timo Werner, feel significant.
Klopp wanted Werner and the RB Leipzig man preferred joining the Reds.
Yet Chelsea met the £54million release clause and one of Europe’s most-wanted players is on his way to them instead.
Before the pandemic hit, Werner would have been seen as a relative bargain.
Now, nobody quite knows where the transfer market stands.
Yet Klopp suggests such £50m-plus fees are difficult to justify on moral or financial grounds with wage restraint and even pay cuts still on the agenda.
He said: “Discussing with the players about things like salary waivers and on the other hand buying a player for £50-60m, we have to explain.”
Such reasoning also begs the question as to whether Liverpool’s decision to ask for Government furlough cash to pay non-footballing staff may have longer-term consequences than we imagined.
That PR blunder in early April was reversed within a few days, with a grovelling apology by chief executive Peter Moore, after it was met with widespread anger.
But the fact the world’s seventh-richest club was prepared to get out the begging bowl in the first place would be thrown at them if they spent big this summer.
Perhaps Klopp’s hands have been tied, partially because of that major error of judgment, made by a club always eager to declare its keen social conscience.
Liverpool’s other top target, Wolves winger Adama Traore — described as "unplayable" by Klopp — will surely not come for a fee as cheap as Werner’s.
He has three years left on his deal at his ambitious, upwardly-mobile club.
So with the Reds facing a £150m-plus financial hit due to the pandemic, there seems little chance of Klopp strengthening, if he is as good as his word.
Klopp’s champions-elect have enjoyed the most dominant campaign ever known in the English top flight and will doubtless secure the title within days of the Premier League’s restart.
His team is relatively young, with none of his first-choice starting line-up the wrong side of 30.
So there is no immediate need for a facelift — as long as you are willing to ignore Sir Alex’s edict.
Manchester City — Liverpool’s only genuine domestic rivals over these past couple of seasons — face a damaging fallout if they fail to overturn a two-year ban from Uefa competition.
So Liverpool will start next season as hot favourites to retain their title.
But a potential resurgence for Chelsea and Manchester United is already on Klopp’s radar.
“There are all sorts of rumours about who United are going to sign, who Chelsea are going to pick,” said Klopp.
“It’s rather quiet at Liverpool at the moment, I think it’s safe to say.
“If you want to take it seriously and run a normal business and depend on income and have no idea how much you will earn — especially because we don’t know when we can start playing with spectators again.”
United are likely to be busy in the market, with midfielders Saul Niguez of Atletico Madrid and Ajax’s Donny van de Beek both in their sights.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is also flexing his financial muscles again.
The fact the Blues were banned from making transfers last summer meant they were always likely to strengthen this summer.
With Ajax’s Hakim Ziyech and now Werner in the bag, they are able to build on the good work put in by Frank Lampard and his youngsters this season.
Not that Werner’s transfer has impressed everyone.
Ex-Liverpool stars Robbie Fowler and John Barnes have both voiced the old "never fancied you anyway" line in relation to Werner.
Well, Klopp certainly fancied him.
Now the German might have to heed Sir Alex’s words about the perils of a successful side standing still.
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