As price of players corkscrews upwards, the transfer of mediocre players for incredulous prices has become an epidemic in the English game. Liverpool are probably the main culprit of this practice, having signed Jordan Henderson (16m), Stewart Downing (20m) and Andy Carroll (35m) in recent years. In fact journalists and fans have found Andy Carroll’s transfer fee of 35 million pounds to be so mind-bendingly remarkable that his name is invariably preceded by the term “35m”. The only person who doesn’t call the former Newcastle striker “35m Andy Carroll” is probably his mother, who undoubtedly calls him “35m Andrew” instead.
One of the most interesting aspects of this propensity to spend ludicrous amounts on average players is that managers often feel duty obliged to play them. Whilst this isn’t always the case, Paul Lambert at Aston Villa has left out Darren Bent in recent weeks,. many managers will be under pressure to field these players. I’m looking at you Fernando Torres. The theme of playing these players has become most apparent with Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool who has desperately tried to fit Stewart Downing into his line-up to the point where he’s using the winger as a full-back. Like a man with the best of intentions of losing a few pounds by purchasing an exercise bike they never use, instead using it as a clothes horse for wet washing.
Whilst Stewart Downing may be compared to a clothes horse exercise bike (and many Liverpool fans would argue that Downing isn’t even fit to carry clothes, certainly not the famous red of Liverpool), Andy Carroll can be compared to an overpriced Nintendo Wii who is currently being lent to a mate because he’s unlikely to get anywhere near what he originally paid for the item on eBay. And Jordan Henderson is a brand new telescope, placed on the top of the wardrobe with the intention of one day being used to view the rings of Saturn or the moons of Jupiter.
I don’t offer any solutions to the issue of player transfer fees adding pressure to managers. I only state that it is a problem and I think a rather unfair problem for Brendan Rodgers who has been left to deal with the problem. After all, it wasn’t him who cluttered the flat with all this crap, it was that Scotsman who moved out last summer.