Window woe

Chris Burton looks at why John W Henry felt the need to pen an open letter to Liverpool supporters on Monday morning and wonders if the Reds are capable of digging themselves out of a hole.

John W Henry: Has addressed Liverpool supporters on the back of a frustrating transfer window

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"A summer window which brought in three young, but significantly talented starters in Joe Allen, Nuri Sahin and Fabio Borini as well as two exciting young potential stars of the future - Samed Yesil and Oussama Assaidi - could hardly be deemed a failure as we build for the future."

Really, John W Henry? Hardly be deemed a failure? A transfer window in which Liverpool allowed three forwards - Dirk Kuyt, Craig Bellamy and Andy Carroll - to leave and added just one - Borini - has apparently left the club 'healthier today than when we took over'?

Maybe a crippling debt has been addressed and the club is operating on a more stable financial footing then under previous regimes, but in terms of transfer policy the Reds' American owners appear to have displayed the kind of business acumen that would have the Dragons diving for cover in the depths of their den.

"We're going to spend £50million on Downing, Henderson and Borini, pay Cole a six-figure salary every week and let Bellamy leave on a free and Carroll link up with West Ham on a season-long loan."

I'm out.

Admittedly, Henry and co have had their fingers burnt, with Kenny Dalglish's standing as a Kop legend allowing him greater freedom in the transfer market than would likely have been afforded to a less high-profile coach - say Brendan Rodgers, for example.

Dalglish brought players into Anfield who would have had the Shankly Gates slammed in their face not all that long ago, with there more than a hint of desperation in some of the dealings carried out in the last couple of years.

There is no sign of things getting any better either.

Who is suddenly being offered up as the answer to Liverpool's problems? A knight in shining armour ready to ride into Merseyside and rescue Rodgers' damsels in distress?

Solution

Henry explains transfer policy

Michael Owen, that's who. A man who made the grand total of one Premier League appearance for Manchester United last season, and 31 in three injury-ravaged years at Old Trafford.

It is easy to see why Owen is being touted as a possible solution.

He is, after all, a former Kop favourite, a proven goalscorer at the highest level and is currently available as a free agent.

It could be argued that he is worth a gamble. What have Liverpool got to lose? Hand Owen a deal until the end of the season, see how his dodgy hamstrings hold up and make more of a concerted effort to land another striker during the January transfer window.

The dilemma facing Rodgers and Henry is, what if the Reds fail to snap themselves out of their worst start to a season in 50 years? What if Owen isn't the answer, Jose Reina's alarming dip in form continues and Luis Suarez gets injured? What then?

We are talking about what ifs here, but Liverpool have given themselves little margin for error.

Henry, in an open letter to the club's supporters, may be saying all the right things, but can he deliver on his promises?

"We will invest to succeed."

"Our ambitions do not lie in cementing a mid-table place with expensive, short-term quick fixes that will only contribute for a couple of years."

"We will deliver what every long-term supporter of Liverpool Football Club aches for."

Future

"Our ambitions do not lie in cementing a mid-table place with expensive, short-term quick fixes that will only contribute for a couple of years."

John W Henry

Quotes of the week

All sounds very promising doesn't it, but a failure to complete any business on transfer deadline day has left many Liverpool followers wondering if those charged with steering their club towards a supposedly brighter future are actually heading towards stormy waters somewhere in the mid-Atlantic.

It will be interesting to see how Henry and the Reds board react in January, with there every chance that they will try to paper over the cracks which have appeared this summer by bankrolling an elaborate spending spree - they may try to buy back the love and respect of a disillusioned fan base.

They may not as well.

Henry says the club is not being run for a profit, but in the same breath adds 'we will not mortgage the future with risky spending'.

Rodgers will appreciate that there is no blank cheque book on offer at Anfield, but he is already cutting a frustrated figure, with one-word answers to questions about the decision to offload Carroll - a man he appeared to rule out of his thoughts the moment he walked through the door - suggesting he has a lot on his mind.

A 2-0 defeat by Arsenal sparked the post-match probing, and led Henry to address supporters directly on Monday morning, with another disjointed display representing painful viewing for those of a red persuasion.

This is not a crisis yet - it is only 3rd September - but, given the fact that Owen is about the only realistic addition that could be made to the Liverpool ranks prior to the January transfer window swinging open, perhaps Henry would be advised to keep his pen in his hand as there may be more uncomfortable questions to come.

Who should Liverpool look to sign from the free agent options?

  • Owen
  • Heskey
  • Beattie
  • Vassell
  • McFadden
  • Del Piero
  • Gudjohnsen
  • Other