John Henry Downplays January Transfer Talk, Stressing ‘Long-Term,’ Youth-Based Approach

Liverpool’s poor start to the season — particularly on the offensive end — has led to widespread speculation that the club will be active in the January transfer window. That notion had been backed up by the proclamations of the new NESV ownership’s willingness to spend, but the team may in fact not look to retool until the season has ended.

Regarding the January window, owner John Henry said, “we have work to do and must invest in this club to improve it on the field. Can that be successfully done in January? A number of people I’ve talked with doubt it. Most people seem to think it will be the summer before we can really begin to improve.”

Instead, Henry maintained that Liverpool must look to raise top-flight young talent instead of desperately overspending to improve, according to the Guardian.

“We need ‘top four’ young players,” Henry said. “They will not produce a quick fix but our philosophy in football will be based on the long-term. That is what has made Arsenal and Manchester United so strong. They understand something we understand in Boston – to be consistently strong on the field you must have a consistent flow of young talent that has been nurtured and developed the right way. We will focus on that. That is also the philosophy of Damien Comolli.

Comolli acknowledged that working in the January window has been made difficult by the timeframe of his arrival and that he too is looking down the road.

“In the short term, in my position you always think of the next window or the next two windows and I think everybody has got this in mind. As I’ve just joined, we’ve got only a few weeks to prepare for the window but we are also looking at the summer transfer window,” he said.

Comolli also stated that manager Roy Hodgson will be involved in all transactions.

“I think sometimes it becomes controversial and it should not be. As John Henry said, it will be a consensus among us. That’s the way John sees it, that’s the way I see it and that’s the way Roy sees it. The manager’s decision and the manager’s opinion on a player is absolutely crucial,” he proclaimed.

Henry did acknowledge that some players would like to see the club improved immediately, but that such an approach would not be best.

“I’ve met with a number of our players and had private discussions with some of them. I’ve been greatly impressed by them personally. They are all exceptionally bright and they all want to be here. The question they have had, rightfully so, is whether or not the club is going to go in the right direction. They all want to see that. I have been very forthright about our philosophy and about what we are going to try to achieve. Some would prefer a quick fix. Others prefer to focus on the long-term and that is very difficult for most players,” he said.

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