So it seems that the media was right, and Spurs did in fact “steal” Sigurdsson. Of course, the laws of averages dictate that once in a while even the UK tabloid press have to get something right. What has entertained me is the reaction of some Liverpool fans about the whole thing. Many were quick to jump from him being a good signing to saying good riddance; others have already sounded the death toll for Liverpool and concluded that we cannot compete.
First of all I suppose I should say that I was mostly indifferent to whether we signed Sigurdsson. On the one hand this was a player that had performed well under Rodgers at Swansea, but on the other hand he was another midfielder that liked to go forward. It was not like this was a position that we lacked players for, particularly with the likes of Joe Cole and Aquilani coming back to the club. Then there is of course the question of whether a player who performed well at a “smaller” club would do the same under the bigger expectations he would face at a team like Liverpool. Say all you want about recent table finishes, but you can guarantee that any new signing at Liverpool will face greater scrutiny than say a new signing at Swansea. Had he come, I would have been happy to see what he could do; and if he signed for somebody else I’d be interested to see just how good he would be. I will have no issue seeing him play well at Spurs, although I just hope he does not play so well as to cost Liverpool a spot in the Champions League next season.
What really annoys me is that some people have resorted to wishing the player fails, or saying that here was a player that was not good enough for the club. That to me already sounds like people have no faith in Brendan Rodgers. If Sigurdsson had come, it would have been a player that the manager wanted; a player that would have already played in the system that Rodgers is likely to utilise this season. Whether he would have started or not, he would have been a positive influence on the squad in training, as he would be able to fit into the system right away and others could use him as an example.
I also do not believe that this marks the end for Liverpool, that without Champions League football we cannot bring players in. For one, you only have to look at the club Sigurdsson has moved to. Spurs themselves are not in Champions League football. People are saying that we have to up the ante and pay the same wages that Spurs were willing to pay to the player. However, I can think of nothing worse to do at this stage. Here we are, with a new manager, and with owners that seem to be willing to back a manager financially. The problem last year was that it became obvious that we were willing to pay over the odds for certain types of players. If Comolli was guilty of one thing, it was of showing his hand, even as the dealer was still dealing the cards. Everybody round the table suddenly knew exactly how far to up the pot. Had we ended up paying the same as Spurs and gotten Sigurdsson, it would have become clear that we were once again happy to pay more than we were initially willing, just to get our man.
To me, not meeting Spurs’ wage to Sigurdsson may have meant us losing a player that we maybe do not need, but it also means that we’re not sending out the message that we’re willing to spend. Rodgers has a tough time ahead of him, as he has a relatively short time to figure out what he has in the squad, how they fit into his system, and who he would like to bring in. I’m sure he has his eye on a few targets, and I’m sure in time he will make his move, if he is not already doing so. I for one am hoping that we do continue to do things behind closed doors, even if it means we have to sit through a plethora of rumours, and maybe only getting signings at the last minute