Manager Brendan Rodgers of Liverpool FC faces a major transfer dilemma at the moment. Does he attempt to replace the star power and productivity of Luis Suarez with a significant transfer move or does he attempt to build from within? Some commentators suggest sticking with the tried and true Liverpool script of developing and nurturing their own home grown talent to achieve Premier League contender status once again. Many fans of the Anfield club believe the Reds should secure a high-quality replacement of Suarez given the £75 million transfer fee paid and the proven ability of the rest of the side.
As with any potential opportunity, the making the decision over how to solve the major transfer dilemma faced by Liverpool FC comes down to weighing risk versus reward. The most difficult move for any sports franchise is to acquire elite talent and replacing elite talent is equally problematic if not even more difficult. With the side functioning at a high level with the presence of a transcendent talent like Suarez, can someone else a half step behind him achieve similar results? If not, the club has squandered a significant investment. On the other hand, failing to pursue an elite scorer could put the Reds in the middle of the pack for the upcoming season.
In a perfect world, clubs could develop and nurture their own talent to achieve long-term success. Liverpool FC does have a strong track record of finding and developing talented players, at least in the past. Some have called for giving 19-year-old Raheem Sterling the opportunity to elevate his game to become a serviceable replacement for Suarez. Liverpool’s own, Jamie Carragher, recently weighed in during an interview to interject his considerable opinion that Suarez possesses the type of talent that can only be replaced with a Lionel Messi or Cristian Ronaldo level player. In other words, none of those transcendent talents will be available in the transfer market so trying to make a major transfer splash to replace Suarez does not make sense.
Although the risk of failure is evident if the side does not gel with the potential signing of Karim Benzema or Marco Reus, not locking down a significant talent to stand in place of Suarez also risks failure on the European stage. Achieving Champions League status is always a tall order, and once rising to the continental league all participants need to perform at the highest level. Asking a youngster to step into the shoes of Suarez would be incredible pressure. Even a transfer player such as Benzema or Reus would certainly feel the need to excel, but at least those players have tasted pressure at the highest level and shown their ability to perform.
Maintaining success in the face of adversity is difficult. Nevertheless, maintaining success with a £75 million transfer fee in the club’s bank account is the sort of problem most would relish. Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool FC certainly face a major transfer dilemma, but failing to make a major move to replace Suarez potentially invites failure on a highly visible stage. The best path would seem to be to acquire a player of the Benzema or Reuz ilk and make a play toward immediate continued success.
Commentary by William Costolo