Since the close of the transfer window, Brendan Rodgers has had to field hundreds of questions about Liverpool’s failure to sign key targets. The questions he will face in January will most likely be of the opposite nature – most notably how Rodgers intends to lose some of Liverpool’s lesser performers. Included in that list is Stewart Downing.
Having arrived from Aston Villa last summer for £20m, Downing is yet to make an impression in the Liverpool first team and has recently been replaced by 17-year-old Raheem Sterling in the pecking order. According to talkSPORT, Downing has been informed that he will have to fight for his place in the first team if he is to stay at Anfield past January.
The Stewart Downing scenario provides an interesting question for Brendan Rodgers. Let’s assume that Downing doesn’t improve on his current form, which seems highly doubtful in my opinion. How much will Liverpool charge for a man they spent £20m on not so long ago? Furthermore who would sign Downing?
In my mind there is a potential market for Downing should the price be right – the winger certainly has ability but has simply struggled to fit into Rodgers structure. The question is whether Liverpool could find a buyer for their price. Despite a managerial change it is the same owners who shelled out £20m for Downing that are looking at a potential loss on the left-winger. Whether they are willing to take a significant loss on the player is a question that remains to be answered.
However the example of Stewart Downing simply represents a larger problem for Brendan Rodgers. The Northern Irishman has several players in his squad, notably Downing, Joe Cole, Jordan Henderson and potentially Jose Enrique who don’t appear to have a future at Anfield. The further problem is that with such lavish sums spent on several of these players, through wages and/or transfer fees, Liverpool are looking at making a significant loss on several players.
In short, Rodgers might have to sell players who previously commanded large transfer fees for a fraction of the price Liverpool paid. Undoubtedly this will have an effect on Rodgers’ own spending power – the Liverpool owners made it clear in the last window that the Reds boss had to earn before he could spend big.
Liverpool have taken to relying on youth at the beginning of the season, with many fans believing that Rodgers will surely add to the squad in the summer. However with Liverpool’s financial situation and player conundrums, the Reds might be looking to their youth set up for longer than initially anticipated.