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1 year later - Did Liverpool make a £23m mistake with Rhian Brewster?

Today marks one year since Liverpool sold Rhian Brewster to Sheffield United for £23m. Did the Reds actually make a mistake with that one?

We’ll admit, this is a difficult one to argue. Liverpool got £23m for Rhian Brewster on October 2nd 2020 and it has since looked like money for nothing.

After all, Brewster hasn’t scored a league goal for the Blades. You’d be hard-pressed to get £3m for the struggling forward, let alone £23m.

Thus Liverpool likely look back on that one as good business, even if they’d rather Brewster did well. After all, the club included a buy-back clause in the deal – the plan was for him to excel and earn a move back.

Not only that but there’s a 15% sell-on clause. Liverpool get that percentage of any sale, which won’t be a lot right now.

Instead, it seems incredibly unlikely that Liverpool use that buy-back clause. Nor will they get much from that sell-on clause. £23m will likely be the final amount, give or take a few pounds.

And so with that in mind, did Liverpool actually make a mistake here?

Every Premier League Team's Best Player Now Vs. 7 Years Ago

£23m for Rhian Brewster

We think Liverpool could have ended up with far more from Brewster – if they’d picked the right club. It’s easy to say now that he’s not a top talent but the striker really felt like he was a year ago.

After all, he spent the first half of 2020 scoring 10 goals in 20 games for Swansea City in the Championship. Those were his first 20 senior league games and over a full season, we’d have been looking at a 20-goal campaign.

That’s really not far off what Harvey Elliott was doing for Blackburn Rovers in his much-heralded season there. Brewster may not quite be at Elliott’s level but he was showing similar promise.

And while the Sheffield United move looked good at the time, it was actually an absolute disaster. The Blades sunk from being European hopefuls to far and away the worst team in the Premier League within 10 months.

Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

They’re now 14th in the Championship after 11 games and Brewster hasn’t scored once. But we know he can perform in that league – he did so at a wonderful rate at a younger age.

How much would an English 21-year-old striker scoring 20 in the Championship go for? We imagine closer to £30m, for starters.

The problem, then, is surely the environment he’s in – not the player himself. If Liverpool had waited a year – or sold to the ‘right’ club – Brewster would have commanded an even bigger fee. There certainly would be a better sell-on possibility.

We don’t blame Liverpool for taking £23m for Brewster. Nor can we really say it was a bad deal. It may have been a mistake in hindsight, however, as the Reds lost out on more profit and the potential for buying a well-developed Brewster back.

Liverpool weren’t to know but selling to a club in freefall caused Brewster to plummet in value. As a result, the Reds may miss out down the line.

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