By Christopher Boulay
The midfielder seemed a sure signing when Brendan Rodgers was appointed the new boss at Anfield on June 1. Only days after the hire, Sigurdsson turned down the Swansea move, as he had only agreed to terms for the deal, which was for approximately £6.8 million.
“I expect not to stay at Swansea due to the uncertainty going on there and it is not clear who is the boss,” Sigurdsson said, according to the Liverpool Echo.
This allowed Liverpool to pounce. Rodgers had a good relationship with the player at Swansea, and it was obvious that Sigurdsson has talent (He scored seven goals in 18 appearances in the Premier League, with braces against Fulham and Wigan, two clubs that Liverpool should beat, yet regularly struggles against). A transfer to Anfield was imminent, it seemed. Nothing could take him from the club.
Then, out of nowhere, Tottenham showed up sans manager, promised him the world, and now Sigurdsson will be at White Hart Lane to start the season, as well as on the other side of the pitch on July 28 in Baltimore. The likely culprit that prevented Liverpool from getting its man?
Spurs allegedly accepted Sigurdsson’s wage demands, which were as much as 50 percent more than Liverpool was willing to offer. The North London club, which is essentially in the same position as Liverpool at this moment, as well as one of the Reds’ most significant rivals to achieving higher European qualification, beat Liverpool out by spending more money to add another body in the midfield – an area that is in desperate need of improvement at Anfield.
Rodgers recently spoke to TalkSPORT about the need for new blood.
“I’m looking forward to bringing in three or four players that can really affect the group,” Rodgers said.
The manager wants to bring in new footballers, yet the club looks as if it is unable to attract top talent with its current wage structure combined with its current place in the league.
This is not a cry of frustration. It is a statement that is realistic about where the club stands at this current moment.
Liverpool has not been in Champions League since the 2009-10 season. It recently won the Carling Cup, but that was the only piece of silverware since 2006. The club finished four points below Everton last season, and it was the worst finish since 1994. In that season, the club had its worst run of matches in nearly 60 years. The longer Liverpool is not in Champions League, the less chance it will have to get back there. Not to mention how important it is for the club to get to the tournament in order to battle for the title again. The league is improving markedly. The club cannot be left in the dust.
Sigurdsson is a classic example where Liverpool has to pay more because it is Liverpool, the North West giant. Want another example where this occurred?
While it is true that one is a wage issue and one is a transfer issue, it is important to keep in mind that players know just as well what kind of club Liverpool is and the history it touts. The club needs to make sure that it does what it can to not lose transfers such as these, as with all of the pieces in place, this looks like a bad gaffe to start off Rodgers’ managerial career.
Maybe Sigurdsson wasn’t rated as highly as many thought by Rodgers. In that case, it is all for naught, but only if he can get in a superior talent to fill that dynamic role in the midfield. However, maybe he was rated highly, and losing him will prove as a motivator for the rest of the transfer window to get those three or four new, top players into the fold. This doesn’t have to be a loss in the long-run, as long as they make smart decisions over the next seven weeks. In addition, it may spark a bit of a managerial rivalry between Rodgers and recently appointed Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas.
I spoke with my friend – a massive Tottenham supporter – who was quite satisfied with the Lilywhite’s little coup.
“Maybe this is the wake-up call we need,” I said.
“Liverpool has had wake-up calls for years,” he replied. “They just keep hitting the snooze button.”
Sadly, he may be right.
Follow Chris Boulay on Twitter @chrismboulay