Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson believes the current economic climate has altered Brendan Rodgers' transfer policy. Lawrenson believes the club is now seeking value in the Spanish over British markets.
"Their [Liverpool] market strategy seems to have shifted," Lawrenson said on the Liverpool Daily Post. "A couple of years back, they were shelling out mega fees (and mega wages) for, largely, home-based players. Jordan Henderson, Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing, Jose Enrique, Joe Cole, Craig Bellamy (free transfers but on big contracts) were all brought in, with varying levels of success."
In contrast, the club is now buying young players from across Europe who are on reasonable contracts. The signings of Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge in January have been supplemented by Iago Aspas, Luis Alberto and Simon Mignolet. The only exception to the policy is Kolo Toure, but his purchase could be viewed as reactionary after the retirement of Jamie Carragher.
"This summer is different. Perhaps the impact made by Philippe Coutinho has played a part, but Liverpool seem to be using their scouting network, and shopping around a bit more," Lawrenson explained.
"Aspas and Alberto are particularly interesting," he continued. "Liverpool have realised that, outside of the big two in Spain, La Liga is basically broke. That means bargains are readily available. Even clubs like Valencia, Sevilla and Atletico Madrid can't compete financially with the Premier League."
The current BBC pundit expects Brendan Rodgers and his scouting department to revisit Spain for more players.
"Don't be surprised to see Liverpool dipping back into the Spanish market and coming back with a few bargains as a result," Lawrenson added.
Aspas and Alberto represent part of a wider culture of players from Spanish clubs transferring to the English Premier League. Santi Carzola, Juan Mata, Fernando Torres, Esteban Granero, Michu, Cesar Azpilicueta and Nacho Monreal are all currently playing in England. Lawrenson attributes this growing trend to Spain's financial difficulties, but there should a mention about the competitiveness of the Premier League. Lawrenson touched on the dominance of Real Madrid and Barcelona in La Liga. As it stands, despite the valiant efforts of Atletico Madrid last season, playing at the highest level in Spain is impossible outside Madrid and Catalonia. Spanish players could be seeking transfers to England to compete for honours and play in the Champions League for clubs that stand a chance to win it.