I read an interesting article on Sky about the number of youngsters U21 getting game time. Martial and Bellerin feature as well as Spurs Delle Alli but overall, there are few PL players with majority coming from France. While I know it’s U21 and we have some players who are under and around the age of 25 who have potential to have big futures, I can’t help but feel that there is something fundamentally wrong with the club’s transfer strategy. The club tell us that there is a real focus on young players and development from the Academy through to the first team. This has been sold to us since Rafa was manager. The talent coming out of the academy has failed and I think the reason is that the club has a transfer strategy to buy young players as well.
These guys who are bought who are not in their prime are given the gametime and we are expected to have the patience to see their careers grow and then in the future we would reap the rewards of sustained success. I’ll rattle the names here – Moreno, Clyne, Gomez, Can, Markovic, Coutinho, Origi, Grujic, even Sakho and Lovren are not in their prime yet. There’s been others in the past as well like Hendo, Carroll and some others. Sounds wonderful but what has happened is that we have a host of players from 16-25 who are learning and developing their game and less than 10% of the entire roster who are “experienced”. At the moment we have Kolo, Milner, Lucas, Skrtel who have pretty much peaked excl Kolo who’s at retirement. These 20 to 25 year olds that we’re buying are effectively taking gametime, development from the youngsters in the academy. Looking at our academy graduates, what’s the rate of success? Sterling, Ibe and Shelvy were bought and put into the academy but we’ll count them. Even Gomez was bought. Flanno is effectively the only local boy and Rossiter has got some experience in the first team now.
Our transfer strategy has to be re-evaluated where we buy smart and get some balance within our team of players who are in their prime, players approaching their prime and young talent. It’s not easy, otherwise everyone would do it but starting by having that as a strategy and a goal of building a squad to compete instead of trying to hoard every young talent around, so much so, that actual talent like Delle Alli slip through our hands. I’d like to see more of our youngsters actually coming through to supplement the first team and we spend more on proven quality which will help the young guys improve. I feel like Klopp has a history of building a team but in today’s modern football I fear he may not get the time and support he needs.
Personally, I feel like he’s the manager we should stick with for a long long time so he can at least be set up for success. We’ve waited over 25 years for a league title, I don’t want to just win one and drift off into the sunset. I want the club to dominate like we once did.