Tony Evans, the chief football editor of The Times, has slammed Liverpool FC and James Milner in an extraordinary Twitter rant, criticizing the signing as well as what it reflects in terms of the owner’s motive. We look at what the signing truly reflects.

Liverpool FC confirmed the signing of James Milner on a free transfer, subject to medical, yesterday.

The signing was welcomed by most people as a reflection of a change in transfer policy by the Fenway Sports Group to bring in experienced players by putting in the money required rather than acquire players at lesser wages and transfer fee before they become established star.

Tony Evans though, among quite a few other Liverpool fans, was not really happy with the signing. We will analyze Tony’s rant put up across the 17 tweets and give our take on it.

1) Comparisons to Joe Cole

This is quite a comparison to make given that there is little similarities between both situation except that both, Joe Cole and James Milner, were English and had come on a free transfer.

Contrary to Joe Cole, who, prior to signing with Liverpool was on an injury hell and thereby had lost a significant chunk of his ability, was struggling to retain his place for both Chelsea FC and England, Milner has been a regular for his club and country over the last year and beyond.

Such was the admiration of manager Manuel Pellegrini for Milner that he showered him with the remarkable praise saying: a Milnera s a phenomenon, a guy with big balls and a heart this big. Intelligent, great mentality, one of those players that when you leave him out youa re left with this feeling of injustice; it hurts because he should always play but sometimes you need a technical player with other characteristics. Ia m Milnera s No1 fan.a

2) Value for money

Milner is on 150k pounds per week and that kind of money for someone like him has not been well received by Evans, especially when the likes of Ozil, Sanchez, Cazorla, Sergio Ramos, Matic etc. are on lesser wage, that point is understandable.

I will not dispute that it is a bit over the top. That being said, Liverpool FC were competing with Manchester City’s 165k pounds per week offer and fighting off interest from Arsenal FC. If they had to secure the player, who was realistically considering Liverpool FC as an option despite Champions League teams interested in him, a rare occasion these days, they had to give him an offer that outdoes Arsenal and comes close enough to City’s offer for the player to consider it.

The reality is that top players do not often prefer to come to Liverpool FC these days, with all due respect. And when a someone does, Liverpool cannot afford to lose the battle.

3) Quality

James Milner was capped 43 times by England U21 for a reason and 53 times for England national team. Make no mistake, James Milner is a player that will improve the Liverpool FC side as the comparison with the outgoing Gerrard shows below.

Milner vs Gerrard

James Milnera s a Key Passesa , a Chances Createda and a Assista numbers being better than Steven Gerrard clearly indicate Gerrard’s creativity will be decently compensated for. His tackles won stats being better than Gerrard only adds to Liverpool FC’s idea to play him centrally.

4)Short term outlook from the owners.

Liverpool FC owners were often lambasted by fans for following an approach that meant Liverpool were thinking too much of the long term compromising the short term objectives. With Milner signing, there is no doubt that the owners are looking at quick fixes. And it is most welcome. Brendan Rodgers has requested a signings with experience that can compliment the younger players along with a marquee striker. Signing a player of proven ability as James Milner and someone with title winning experience that he has is exactly the kind of short term solution Liverpool FC needed. And it has been delivered.

5) No philosophy or concrete plan.

Liverpool FC owners have been accused of lacking a concrete vision to run the club. The philosophy keeps changing and so does the plan is the accusation.

The problem is that the expectations at Liverpool are very high despite the club being very unstable financially since the reign of Hicks and Gillette. Liverpool FC nearly went into administration. The revenue now is the 5th highest in the league behind the top 4 when it was the highest in early 90s. The owners have to keep improving the club working within the constraints that is curbing quick growth.

Having said that, the club has been struggling to find a concrete philosophy and the owners are bearing the brunt of the rage. To be honest, it is something that is worrying. Liverpool will now reach 5 years under the ownership of Fenway Sports Group and the club has been flirting with transfer policy that involved a director of football and then a transfer committee which has led Liverpool down massively.

Rodgers was given an option to sign Balotelli or Eto’o on the final day of the window because the club failed to convince Sanchez, Remy had failed his medical, and the owners were not prepared to meet Bony’s wage demand.

FSG have to end this trial-error methodology which work well in initial stages of any venture. With five years into the football ownership business, if they still have not figured it out, it would be fair to say they are clueless on that front.

Any manager needs to have proper off the field support if they are to win on it. And transfers are the most important off the field aspect that impact performances directly on the pitch. Liverpool FC have to find a concrete solution to the problem.

Listed below are the tweets by Tony Evans on the James Milner signing:

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