Liverpool's decision to sign Andy Carroll, in January 2011, was logical in the context of the transfers that followed that summer.
The £35million fee may have been high, but as Liverpool pointed out at the time, they essentially got him and £15million for Fernando Torres and that was consistent with a switch from an approach based on counter-attacking to one based on crossing.
Whether or not Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing really were bought through some quasi-moneyball logic because they had created the most chances of any players realistically available, the acquisitions seemed to make sense: they could deliver balls for Carroll to use the aerial ability he demonstrated in scoring a classical header for England against Sweden in the Euros.
That goal, stemming from a perfectly timed leap and a powerful flex of the neck muscles showed just what Carroll is good at.
Cut off the pony-tail and, in silhouette, that thrusting figure could have been Tommy Lawton or Nat Lofthouse. Although he is far better on the ground than many players his size, and can strike a ball exceptionally well from range, Carroll's great asset is his physique. While he shouldn't be fed on an entirely aerial diet, it makes no sense not to try to exploit Carroll's height and strength. He needs crosses.
Equally, Carroll's relative lack of mobility means that he has little place in a team based on passing and movement, and that is what Rodgers's Liverpool will be. At times last season, Rodgers's Swansea rivalled Barcelona in passing stats. If Carroll were to have any place in his sort of team system, it could only be as an impact substitute, as a way of varying the approach. Fabio Borini, a forward far happier in a fluid system, and expert at hanging on the shoulder of the last defender, has arrived from Roma for £10m, and is a logical choice to replace him. With Craig Bellamy and Luis Suarez, Liverpool could play a trio of dynamic, darting, not particularly tall forwards, two of them adept at dropping deep and sliding through neat angled passes, all three quick and skilled at finishing them.
So there is logic to the decision to sell Carroll, but it's hard not to feel sympathy for him. After a difficult first year at Liverpool he had come good towards the end of last season and had impressed as much as any other player at the Euros. On song, when every part of that vast powerful frame is working in harmony, Carroll is virtually unplayable. Even against Italy in the quarter-final, when England were criticised for going too long too often - their most common passing combination was Joe Hart to Carroll - the centre-forward, having come on as a second-half substitute won an extraordinary proportion of headers for which he challenged. That England were predictable and that others didn't get forward to support him was hardly his fault.
He probably left the England squad this summer looking forward to a break before returning to Liverpool and establishing himself as Luis Suarez's regular partner. Now, as he lies on the beach in his exclusive Brazilian resort, his future is once again uncertain.
Newcastle have made a bid to loan him back - although with Demba Ba and Papiss Demba Cisse gelling so well, he might not even be a first choice there - but that has been rejected as Liverpool seek a £20million fee. Aston Villa and West ham are also said to be interested, but it's hard to see how they could afford that sort of fee. Realistically, there seem very few clubs who could afford Carroll who play a style that suits him. Increasingly that £35million fee Liverpool paid to sign him from Newcastle looks a millstone.
Carroll and Rodgers apparently had a phone conversation earlier this week in which Rodgers explained his position. There's a chance that Carroll might impress on Liverpool's tour of the USA next week and so earn redemption but it seems slight. With Liverpool seemingly form in their valuation - for now, at least - the most likely outcome is an awkward compromise in August as the transfer window closes. Either that, or Carroll hangs around, haunting the squad, lumbering awkwardly in the odd game here and there, a stalwart of the League Cup, never getting the run of games he seems to need to find his rhythm, never looking comfortable in a tactical approach that doesn't suit him.
In that regard, Rodgers's determination to offload him is admirable.
It may be awkward, and Liverpool cannot be happy to accept a - minimum - £15million loss, but there is simply no point hanging on to players who do not fit a manager's style. It seems a basic point, but it is one that is frequently overlooked: a manager must fit his players (or players must fit a manager).
The dangers when that principle is ignored are obvious. Take Internazionale, appointing Gian Piero Gasperini, a coach noted for his high offside line, pressing and back three, to take charge of a squad of slow ageing players used to a back four. He lasted five weeks before being dismissed. Or take the similar case of Andre Villas-Boas, a coach who had played a high line at Porto, appointed to oversee the transition of an ageing, slow, cussed Chelsea. That experiment lasted seven months before he was sacked.
All managers on taking over a new club will to an extent reshape their squad. That's why the constant chopping and changing of managers so common in English football - where the issue is more serious because coaches tend to direct transfer policy, rather than working alongside a sporting director who can ensure some measure of continuity of philosophy - is so costly. Not only does a dismissed manager need to have his contract paid off, but, almost invariably, the new manager will demand three or four signings while deeming three or four of his predecessor's squad superfluous.
That's why clubs need a basic structure and style, a set of principles to guide recruitment both of players and managers. Liverpool have moved from an approach based on crossing to one based on possession.
If that's a long-term strategy, it's an understandable switch, but it's Carroll's misfortune that he is the collateral damage.