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Henry: Reds taking long-term view
Published : 29 Jun 2011 19:26:00
iverpool owner John Henry has laid down a marker for the club's transfer policy by confirming the plan is to build for long-term success. The Reds have been linked with a long list of names ever since Fenway Sports Group bought the club in October. However, FSG have always intimated they wanted to implement a strategy similar to the one they used successfully with their baseball team, the Boston Red Sox, acquiring younger players with potential who will have a greater re-sale value. That was illustrated with the £16million acquisition of Sunderland's England Under-21 midfielder Jordan Henderson earlier this month. The Reds were also interested in 18-year-old Ipswich striker Connor Wickham but were unwilling to match Sunderland's bid of £8.1million - rising to £12million - and the player completed his move to Wearside today. But speculation linking the club with the likes of 30-year-old Manchester City left-back Wayne Bridge prompted Henry to underline the way forward. "Speculation on players shouldn't include those of a certain age," he wrote on Twitter. "We are not going to be successful by merely filling short-term needs at LFC." This unsurprisingly prompted a flurry of questions about the club's transfer policy this summer, with Henry responding to comparisons between the progress Liverpool had made compared to that of champions Manchester United who have already signed Phil Jones, Ashley Young and David de Gea for a combined sum in the region of £50million. "Everything in sports is overpriced now - especially the cost of winning. But you make your choices based on a plan," was the American's response. "Some things happen early and some late. The important thing is that things happen. Sometimes what you avoid is important." Looking for better value for money in the transfer market does not rule out major spending though. And with Liverpool having to make up a considerable amount of ground on the Barclays Premier League's top four clubs there has had to be some flexibility in that area in order to make progress faster than normal. It was why the £56.5million they received in January from the sale of Fernando Torres to Chelsea and Ryan Babel to Hoffenheim was immediately re-invested in club record signings Luis Suarez, for £22.8million, and Andy Carroll, for £35million. The argument was that Liverpool has massively overpaid for the latter but both Carroll, aged 22 and an England international, and 24-year-old Suarez - a key player for Uruguay at last summer's World Cup - fit the age profile of the type of recruits FSG want to see at the club. Blackpool midfielder Charlie Adam, 25, appears to be edging closer to a move to Anfield while there is reported interest in Aston Villa winger Stewart Downing, who is 27 later this month and is probably edging towards the upper end of the ideal age range. One figure who does not appear to have a future at Anfield, however, is assistant manager Sammy Lee. A report today in the Liverpool Echo claimed he no longer occupied the role he has held for the last three years, although the club have refused to comment. The 52-year-old, a former player alongside current boss Kenny Dalglish, returned to Anfield in 2008 at the invitation of Rafael Benitez. He retained his position as assistant manager in January when highly-respected coach Steve Clarke arrived to coincide with Dalglish's replacement of Roy Hodgson. Lee has already been linked to a reunion with Sam Allardyce at West Ham, with the pair having successfully worked together at Bolton. The former midfielder played 294 times for the Reds, winning three league titles and two European Cups, before returning to take charge of the reserves during Graeme Souness' reign as manager. He was quickly promoted to first-team coach under Gerard Houllier but left the club in 2004 to join England's backroom team, before linking up with Allardyce at Bolton two years later where he had a brief spell as manager before returning to Anfield.