26 Feb 2016

Transfer Update: 'New Pogba' confirms Klopp 'phone call' convinced him to 'join Liverpool'

In July 2014, Adam Lallana confirmed that (prior to his Liverpool transfer) he hadn't discussed his probable role in the team with Brendan Rodgers, and signed for the club on the basis of 'references' from his England team-mates. Lallana's admission symbolised (IMO)one of the major problems of the Rodgers era: the failure to get directly involved with signing players (i.e. pre-deal discussions about tactics, expectations, and place in the team etc). Thankfully, things are changing under Jurgen Klopp, and it appears that the German plays an active role in the transfer process.

Speaking to LFC.com on the day of his transfer, Lallana was asked 'what has the manager said to you about how he sees you fitting into his Liverpool team'. He replied:

"I can't say I've had that chat in detail yet. He seems like a top manager. Everyone gives him great references. All of the lads at England said that if I did get the chance to work with him then it would help my career".

It was the same with Coutinho. After signing for Liverpool, the Brazilian told The Telegraph:

“The manager and I did not speak before I signed, it was Lucas who passed me all the information I needed. He told me how the club works, the structure of the club and how we play”.

Maybe it's just me, but if Liverpool are going to spend big bucks on transfers, then it's surely imperative for the manager to have detailed discussions with the player before any deals go through.

For the most part, Coutinho worked out, but at £8m, his transfer was much less of a risk than the £26m splurged on Lallana. If Rodgers' preference was for limited contact with players before signing, then perhaps that explains why so many of his transfers failed.

Thankfully, Rodgers' detachment is in stark contrast to Jurgen Klopp's hands-on approach to the Marko Grujic transfer. In an interview with Serbian publication Blic this week, Grujic confirmed that:

“[The transfer] started with the phone call from Klopp, and told me about the plans that he had for me. When a coach like that calls you personally, that’s the greatest privilege. That call really cemented my desire to join Liverpool".

Grujic - nicknamed the 'new Pogba' in Italy' - cost just £5m, but Klopp made sure he made direct, personal contact before the deal to explain exactly where Grujic will fit in at Anfield.

Lallana may have been satisfied with glowing 'references' from Gerrard et al, but players surely need to know exactly what to expect prior to signing for Liverpool, which is why communication is key.

In my view, a manager's failure to hold detailed discussions with a player (prior to signing) is a dereliction of duty, and hopefully Klopp will continue his proactive approach for all of Liverpool's future transfers.

Author: Jaimie K


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