In recent years we have seen an explosion in transfer fees. Astronomical sums are being tossed around the planet in order to secure the brightest – and most marketable – talents in world football. In 2017, Barcelona agreed a deal that could rise to £135.5m when they brought then 20-year-old Ousmane Dembele to the Camp Nou. In a world of whacky fees and wasted money, have Liverpool found the secret to transfer market success?
It is hard to point at a bad buy that the Reds have made in recent seasons. Until this campaign, people could have gestured to Marko Grujic as bad business on Liverpool’s part. In 2016, Red Star parted ways with then 19-year-old Grujic for £5.1m. The Serbian made just eight appearances for the Reds before a drab loan move to Cardiff.
You win some, you lose some – right? When many Kopites were chalking Grujic up to an error of judgement, we have been proved emphatically wrong. The dynamic midfielder has been in spectacular form during his two year loan spell at Hertha Berlin and he looks set to challenge for a place in Jürgen Klopp’s squad next season.
Naby Keita was a club record signing when we paid his £48m release clause in 2017. Injuries have prevented him from hitting his best form but there have been some more than encouraging signs.
It appears that sporting director Michael Edwards and Jürgen Klopp have found a tremendous balance between finding value in the market and making sure that they secure the right targets for them.
We also bought some of our indispensable players on the cheap. According to a CIES study, published in The Telegraph, Edwards underpaid by £22m when he signed Fabinho. Andy Robertson cost the club a mere £8m, Ballon d’Or nominee Gini Wijnaldum cost £25m.
During the Jürgen Klopp era Liverpool’s net spend is £67.25m, according to Anfield Online. This incredible figure is testament to the shrewd manner in which we have operated in the transfer market. We have bought low and sold high. Our budget buys have allowed us to splash the cash where needed.
We have avoided wasting our money by biding our time, making sure that we sign the players that are right for us. The Reds waited it out to sign Virgil van Dijk, they bought Keita a year in advance. Often teams will compromise in a panic, this is a sure fire way to waste your money.
Liverpool have found the secret to transfer market success: patience and balance.