When Liverpool bought Diogo Jota from Wolverhampton Wanderers in the previous summer window, there was trepidation that the club were alternating from FSG’s sustained transfer model that has proven widely successful in recent years.
Sporting director Michael Edwards has spent the previous four years searching the continent for hidden gems with moderately low price fees that would help elevate the club’s status from nearly-men into continental conquerors.
A meticulous financial mind
His success was unparalleled, even in the cases of Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker, whose eye-watering price-tags have been made to look like small change when you consider the impact they have had on Liverpool since joining in 2018.
Whether his name is Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Fabinho or Andy Robertson, it’s fair to say that practically all of Edwards’ shrewd additions have more than doubled their value since signing for the Reds.
This is what made Liverpool’s approach for Jota all the more bizarre in retrospect. The £41 million [BBC] deal that was sanctioned to land the Portugal international was a record fee for any attacking player to join the club.
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Such a figure seemed a little excessive when you consider that he was failing to even make the Wolves starting XI during crucial Europa League fixtures against Olympiacos and Sevilla last season.
However, previous notions have well and truly been blown out of the water in recent weeks with Jota more than vindicating himself as one of the signings of the summer.
The 23-year-old has been in inspired form practically from the get-go and has already clocked up seven goals in his opening 10 Liverpool appearances.
In midweek, he registered his first career hat-trick for Liverpool in Bergamo as Jurgen Klopp’s team put Atalanta to the sword in a 5-0 demolition job.
Wolves will have initially been more than pleased with their decision to cash in their chips for a player they paid just 14 million euros (£12.3million) for back in 2018.
However, the Midlands outfit will no doubt have been left with a sinking feeling having witnessed their former player hit the ground running so quickly at the home of the Premier League champions.
By the time his hat-trick was sealed in the Champions League, Wolves will have looked at that £41 million fee and felt a sense of being swindled by the meticulous financial mind that is Michael Edwards.
We are only weeks into his Anfield tenure and already his once eye-watering price-tag is beginning to look like a financial masterstroke.
It should also be considered that Liverpool even managed to strike a deal that sees them pay just 10 per cent of his agreed fee during the first year and when you weigh in that Ki-Jana Hoever went in the opposite direction, Klopp is effectively getting the services of Jota for the next 12 months free of charge.
This is the kind of deal that is struck for a player who is expected to take his time to settle before vindicating such a financial leap of faith from his club-side. Jota has done the complete opposite and has already threatened to disrupt the dynamic of Liverpool’s pedigreed front-three.
The only person connected with Liverpool who has good reason not to be enthused by Jota’s recent heroics is Roberto Firmino.
Dropped for Tuesday’s victory, the Brazilian faces the prospect of sitting out the team’s biggest clash of the season against Manchester City on Sunday.
If Jota is deemed fit enough to feature following a minor knock in midweek, there is no question who currently holds the upper-hand at this moment in time.
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