Jordan Henderson has already copped a lot of unfair criticism (before he has even pulled on a Liverpool shirt), regarding what people perceive to be his inflated fee. There is little sense in judging him this early, but this has become the nature of the modern football fan. Besides the fact that Phil Jones was bought for a similar fee by United, or that various squad players from our direct rivals cost similar amounts of money (Anderson, Ramires, Milner etc) – you can hardly judge Henderson on a few low-key performances in an underperforming England U21 team playing alongside Fabrice Muamba. At the least he deserves a season to prove himself.
However, one thing definitely sets off the alarm bells for me personally, it is when managers say things along the lines of “he was bought for the future”. There has been a recurring theme in some of the high profile failures in recent Liverpool transfers debacles. With Aquilani for example, who was “bought for 5 seasons not for 5 games”, or Joe Cole “we won’t rush him, we will give him all the time he needs”. Even Andy Carroll who has been injured and who does not have the remotest chance of justifying his price-tag has worried me in his brief appearance at the end of the last season – although clearly we can judge better after a full, injure free season.
The point I am trying to make is that when players are brought in, even at young ages, they do not have 5 years to prove themselves, they have a season or two to click at the most, or they are on the way out. This can be illustrated by taking a look at the squad lists of Liverpool (or Arsenal/Chelsea etc) from 5 years ago and the squads now. You would find precious few survivors, because when money has been spent, results are demanded increasingly quickly. Perhaps in Kenny, the youngsters coming through have a manager who is willing to be patient and nurture them without too much pressure, but it remains to be seen whether FSG will be equally patient as owners.
Jordan Henderson can not be judged until the end of next season. But at that time, he had better have shown some promise, because history shows that clubs have little tolerance for players who don not fulfill their potential quickly.
OurKop.com would like to welcome Ved Kamat from India to the team.