It became a running joke in English football, spot a hot prospect at Southampton and within no time he would be playing at Anfield. Stu Barker looks at how Manchester United may be able to follow a similar strategy.
It seemed like there was an endless pool of talent for Jurgen Klopp and his predecessor Brendan Rodgers to choose from.
The two managers initially struggled to compete with top sides and attract stellar signings. Instead, they carefully selected players performing well within the Premier League but playing within clubs, like Southampton, who they knew couldn’t compete once Liverpool came calling.
It began with Adam Lallana in 2014. He was a relative success until injuries hampered his progression. Since his signing, Liverpool have also recruited Dejan Lovren, Nathaniel Clyne, Sadio Mane and most recently Virgil Van Dijk.Embed from Getty Images
There was also the signing of Rickie Lambert but that was a less successful acquisition from the Saints.
Over in Manchester, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appears to be moving in the right direction, bar Sunday’s slip at West Ham.
His cleared out some overpaid and underperforming stars, but he has been left with a squad lacking the depth to cope with the challenge of a long season.
However, United should resist the temptation of ‘galactico’ signings and should seek inspiration from Liverpool’s strategy of hoovering up the best talent from Southampton.
One club possessing players who might be tempted to make the switch to Old Trafford is Leicester City.
David de Gea has now signed a new contract so there is no chance of seeing the name Schmeichel on the back of the number one jersey. But, former Fox Harry Maguire could do with some help in defence.
Ben Chilwell would be a good option to replace Luke Shaw and James Maddison, who has already been linked with a move to Old Trafford, is the sort creative player that Solskjaer has been crying out for.Embed from Getty Images
Tielemans is another excting 22-year-old who offers more than Andreas Pereira and Juan Mata.
For all Marcus Rashford’s promise, at present, he has failed to deliver as the number nine in Solskjaer’s new dynamic forward line. If Ole is looking for a striker with pace, a winning mentality and a proven track record of scoring goals then Jamie Vardy would be a relative bargain in the transfer market due.
It’s unlikely United would win the league with these players, but Rodgers’ stars could slot well into Ole’s vision, whether he is given time to achieve this remains to be seen.
You can follow Stu on Twitter @_ChuBarker