This is the fifth of a weekly series titled “The Magnificent Seven”. Every week we’ll be taking a look at almost everything regarding Liverpool, ranked in a top seven. Seeing as we are currently in the full swing of the summer transfer window, with all of its drama and tension; it’s only fitting that we ride the wave for a moment. Modern football has given supporters a certain expectation as to how their club’s dealings should be done, which often creates toxic pessimism. Sometimes the outcry is justified however, which is why in this edition we’ll be taking a look at the seven biggest transfer blunders in Liverpool’s modern era, which we will define as the 21st century. Granted this list is not the most “magnificent” but a necessary one nonetheless. Poor signings, premature sales, and inexplicably failed deals all feature in this list. When some of these disasters are reflected upon, it should hopefully give fans a more optimistic look at this summer’s progression.
7 – Alberto Aquilani
Signed for £17m from Roma in the summer of 2009, much was expected from the Italian midfielder. He arrived at Anfield with big shoes to fill (more on that later) and he never came close to achieving that. You can almost sum up his entire Liverpool career by the fact that he was signed injured.
6 – The Pair of 2012
The first transfer window Brendan Rodgers had in charge of Liverpool was quite comical. His two biggest targets were linked with a move to Merseyside for weeks on end. As the deals reached what everyone thought was their respective conclusions, both Clint Dempsey and Gylfi Sigurdsson opted to move to Tottenham. While in hindsight the inability to capture these players didn’t turn out to be too much of a miss, the overall ineptitude of the negotiations is what puts it on this list.
5 – The summer of 2014
On the back of what was probably Liverpool’s best campaign of the Premier League era, a strong summer of signings was crucial to push the club on in both the Champions League and their quest to win the league title. Fans were quick to excuse the first signing of the summer being Rickie Lambert as most expected the rest to be a clear step up in quality. However, Luis Suarez was sold to Barcelona before preseason training had even begun and his supposed replacement was Mario Balotelli. In fact, out of all the players signed that summer, Adam Lallana and Emre Can are the only two who most would agree have been good pieces of business. Other arrivals that summer included Lazar Markovic, Alberto Moreno, and Dejan Lovren.
4– The signing of El Hadji Diouf
Michael Owen aside, I don’t think there is a former Liverpool player so commonly hated by fans. Being the proud owner of one of the largest mouths in football, Diouf has created plenty of enemies throughout the years. Constant spats at club icons like Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard definitely have not helped his case. In addition to his antics – which included spitting at an opposition fan – he was also a lacklustre footballer. He managed a whopping 0 goals in his second season at the club, no wonder it turned out to be his last.
3 – The signing of Andy Carroll
It may be a tad harsh to have him this high up the list but it’s warranted. On the night that a fan favourite in the shape of Fernando Torres left the club, many were sent into a frenzy as to what to do next. Delaying his departure all the way until transfer deadline day was a devastatingly poor decision. So much panic was created in the Liverpool boardroom that £35m was splashed out on a player who had only played half a season of top flight football. The new record signing was even given Torres’ number 9 shirt to signify just what they were buying him to do. However, Carroll only ended up representing the club for one full season, and it was another player signed on deadline day (with far less hype) who ended up being the Spaniard’s replacement. The amount of money splashed out on Carroll and the expectation surrounding his move definitely wasn’t his fault. The blame for this one goes almost solely on the club.
2– The Summer of 2010
Roy Hodgson, Christian Poulsen, Milan Jovanovic, Joe Cole, Brad Jones, and Paul Konchesky all joined the club that summer.
1 – The Xabi Alonso fiasco
Where do I even begin? Without a doubt one of the best players to ever wear the Liverpool shirt. A legend not only at the club, but also on the world football stage. We had him, we had him firmly in our grasp and we somehow let him go. It still completely baffles the fan base as to how Rafa Benitez tried to displace Xabi Alonso from the centre of midfield for Gareth Barry. He let the Spaniard know of his intentions which obviously did not sit well with him. Not to mention he had been linked with a move to Real Madrid for the past 12 months, making the next step for Alonso to take a clear one. And probably the most infuriating aspect to all of this is the fact that the club wasn’t even able to sign Gareth Barry. A complete mess from top to bottom, fingers crossed we don’t see anything of this ilk in the near future.