Monday, 9 April 2012

Selling Dirk is Moneyball Gone Mad

Reports in the news recently suggest that Dirk Kuyt could be on his way out of Anfield for as little as £1m. The story has been reported in numerous newspapers and interestingly by Dominic King, who is a respected Liverpool reporter with good contacts at the club. It would therefore appear that this is more than just ‘paper talk’.

The thinking behind the move is that Kuyt’s wages of £70k are excessive and, given his age, such money could be used more efficiently by bringing in a younger player on a lower wage. Kuyt also has just one year left on his contract, hence the low fee. It is classic FSG style ‘Moneyball’.

However, it is in cases like this that the Moneyball model is fundamentally flawed. There is no way we could replace what Dirk Kuyt offers Liverpool for £1m, and £70k per week is below the going rate for a top class midfielder.

The fact that Kuyt is one of the more mature members of our squad is actually a benefit. We are short of players who are proven to excel at the very highest level, something Dirk Kuyt has done throughout his career. Having him around for another year makes perfect sense as Liverpool’s transition continues. Selling him for £1m makes no sense at all.

This is a player who has scored in the quarter finals, semi finals and final of the Champions League. This is a player who started every game of the 2010 World Cup for Holland, who was instrumental in their march to the final. This is the man who came off the bench in the 100th minute of the Carling Cup final to score a goal, clear an effort off the line and then score again in the penalty shoot out. Without him, the Carling Cup could well be sitting in Cardiff now.

When the going gets tough, Dirk Kuyt gets going. He sweats blood for the cause every time he puts the shirt on. He is a vital cog in our chain and the squad will be weaker next season without him. His agent has confirmed he wants to stay, so let him.

If we are looking to replenish our squad, we should start with some of our newer flops, not a tried, tested and trusted legend.

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  1. have a Love/Hate mentality when Dirk Kuyt is involved. I love him when he plays against Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal etc. But I hate him when he plays against Stoke, Blackburn and others of that Calibre. Against the better sides you get more room to work and space to take the extra touch. This is where Kuyt is effective. He has the space to take an extra touch and to be more effective on the ball, creating opportunities, or putting them in himself. Against lesser opposition he struggles. Lesser teams play tighter and restrict the space you can work in, meaning that Dirk Kuyt’s poor technique is highlighted for all to see and when he struggles, whoever he plays in attack with struggles.

    If we can keep him for those big games, where he has space to work and be effective on and off the ball, then I’m all for it. If not then I think it is best if we sell up. His ability to keep running and Concentrate for the full 90 minutes has diminished somewhat, and it is definitely having an effect on the others around him, especially when we are chasing a game. He won’t want to sit on the bench, and due to him being in his 30′s, I doubt he would be willing to sit out of so many games. If we can somehow swap him, plus cash for someone younger who can improve Liverpool, then I think that’s what we should do. Swap + Cash for the likes of Luuk DeJong, Daniel Texiera, or someone of similar ability/Potential would be a great option imo.

  2. His exit clause was £1m no? And he wanted to leave to play more games, he said it himself. Not every Liverpool transfer can be explained away by Moneyball.


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