Across last year’s summer, Brendan Rodgers and his determined Liverpool side were widely expected to push on from where they left of last season and perhaps even better their fortunes throughout the 2014/15 campaign.
The Reds were obviously forced to go about their business without a certain Luiz Suarez on board of course – but as £75 million worth of compensation was granted to the Premier League club in order to make up for their hefty loss – no one at Anfield could argue that they didn’t have enough resources on their hands before beginning the current league campaign.
In gambling away their money on the likes of Dejan Lovren, Lazar Markovic and Adam Lallana to name but a few, Rodgers not only saw his own decision-making skills come under focus within the broader footballing community, but he also subsequently saw his side fail to produce the goods this term as a result of the club’s ill-fated spending.
So then, whilst former Liverpool target Jeremy Menez may not have seemed like the most ideal player to be linked with across the course of last summer for the Anfield faithful, did the Reds actually miss a trick in failing to sign the Frenchman this season – and is he ultimately ‘the one who got away’ for Liverpool throughout the 2014/15 campaign?
On the basis of what has taken place in this season alone, the answer would seemingly be yes – Jeremy Menez could have been perfect for Rodgers this term, if only his side saw fit to land his signature before he eventually signed for AC Milan.
Admittedly the attacking midfielder certainly doesn’t arrive as the most illustrious name on the transfer scene these days. There are many other players out there who equally provide their respective teams with the same amount of talent on offer from the Milan no. 7, and yes, at 27-years-old Menez isn’t exactly a young emerging star any more – but as his displays in Serie A have thus proven so far this season – the player in question definitely still brings a lot to the table.
The Frenchman simply has something slightly Arjen Robben-esque about his approach to taking on defenders, and territorially dominating the wing with his effective performances on a week to week basis. AC Milan have nonetheless been a shadow of their former selves throughout 2014/15, yet Jeremy Menez has still managed to shine with his expansive range of passing, skilful demeanour on and off the ball, and truly impressive talent for finishing in the most testing of situations.
The former PSG and Roma man has scored a solid 16 goals so far this term – topping the tally among his teammates at the San Siro, as well as placing just 4 goals off Carlos Tevez’ leading total across the whole of Serie A.
Perhaps with the vast array of world class talent on offer at PSG last season, Menez inevitably had to witness his first team status slip away with the arrival of many new renowned stars at the Parc des Princes stadium. As his contract ran down at the end of last year’s campaign however, AC Milan proved shrewd enough to land the Frenchman on a low cost deal that has already paid off well for the historic Italian club.
This is where Liverpool simply fell short. They put all of their eggs in one basket by largely signing young, untested players and throwing them in at the deep end of the Premier League all at once. Although such a tactic may prove dividends for Brendan Rodgers in the next few seasons – if the Northern Irish boss manages to hold down his position at Anfield for that long – it has well and truly backfired for the Reds so far this term.
Whilst Menez wasn’t likely to be the cause of much sensation in and around Anfield upon his potential arrival at the club last summer, his free agent status and impressive footballing background should have ultimately received more consideration from Liverpool before they opted against trying to sign the attacker for good.
In light of such a frustrating turn of events for the Premier League club, the Reds must now take this as a stern lesson learnt as they look to turn around their fortunes ahead of the new league campaign.