Transfer Window Deadline Day – 2010-2011 Edition
Let’s take a trip down memory lane to the 2010-2011 January Transfer window deadline day. This was a particularly meaty window with a flurry of action in the last week.
Some background: The transfer window in European leagues, which fuels most of the madness, is open from the end of one season through the first month of the new season (typically July 1 to August 31 ever year) and then once again for the month of January in the middle of the season. Transfer news in general is some of the most outrageous and ineptly reported out there. Anyone can say anything about anyone going anywhere at any time and it’ll fly on the editorial white board for headline news. Players like Ronaldo, Messi, Suarez, Rooney, Robben, Lewandowski are the subject of constant speculation that if you had to rate on the accuracy scale from ‘Planck length of truthiness’ to ‘blabbering nonsense’ it mostly falls somewhere near the left end of that spectrum. It is difficult to overstate the level to which speculation is reported as fact and the insanity when it comes to the price tags for players that are the subject of such speculation.
A perfect example and one of my personal favorite head scratching transfers was the Liverpool activity of the January window in the 2010-2011 season. The players involved were Fernando Torres (yes, you don’t know who this is) , Luis Suarez (from gnawing fame), and Andy “Car Ramrod” Carroll. Transfers in the January window have the potential to be somewhat disruptive to a team’s rhythm and Liverpool’s sale of Torres to Chelsea saw an extremely important part of their squad depart mid-season. So why did they sell? The price tag (~$75 million) was such that it was impossible to turn down. A great piece of business by the high finance team at Liverpool. Yes they might incur some short term pain but the money in should provide for the future and the fulfillment of whatever plans they had to really propel the club forward.
Some may think that hey it may be awhile before we see these future building plans materialize. That is a lot of money and you’d want to use it wisely. But oh no this was not the case, not here. Liverpool’s first move was to sign Luis Suarez, an understandable and actual good piece of business, for ~$30 million. Suarez came from the Dutch league where he scored 111 goals in 159 games and was a standout internationally for Uruguay. But then, in a moment of sheer panic Liverpool bought Andy Carroll for ~$53 million. At the time Carroll had scored 14 goals and played half a season in a top flight league and was purchased for a fee that was 50% higher than the bicuspidly gifted Suarez. This was bad. Using reason and logic I think I got close to how it went down on Transfer Deadline day:
Liverpool Guy1: ok we got Suarez – do we need to do anything else?
Liverpool Guy2: is there anyone out there we can buy that is not good?
Liverpool Guy1: like how not good?
Liverpool Guy2: i want someone so bad the people of Corpus Christi, Texas will hear about it.
Liverpool Guy1: Andy Carroll
Hindsight bias admitted, spending that amount of money on Andy Carroll i’ll say is not so great. He was slow, had one trick, and had a pony tail.