Michael Edwards confirmed his Liverpool exit on Wednesday and he will leave the club in 2022. So what happens now and how does this affect Liverpool?
Michael Edwards put out a great open letter to Liverpool supporters on Wednesday as he confirmed his exit from the club. It brings an end to 10 years of the sporting director.
And what a 10 years it’s been. Edwards has played a significant role in rebuilding Liverpool from a team with top-four hopes into the world’s best. He’s led the way on transfers, securing what the club believes are the right deals.
Just look up and down the squad and you see how clever transfers built this success. The likes of Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk were considered risks – over-priced players who had either failed in the big time before or simply hadn’t proven themselves at this level.
Really, Thiago is the only played in the squad who arrived with a certain reputation. Everyone else was a risk.
It’s not easy to build a squad that way and the sense now is that Liverpool move backwards without Edwards. However, we don’t think the change is going to be as big as many think.
Michael Edwards confirms exit
Edwards tries very hard in his letter to get across exactly what he does. His actual role has been misunderstood over his time at the club.
He’s known as a stats man, someone who finds players on his laptop and pushes for Liverpool to sign them. That’s not actually the case, however.
Edwards is a sporting director of a large team in charge of transfers. That includes scouts, data analysts, coaching staff and other roles.
The director points people in certain directions, essentially, and manages the recruitment side of things. But he’s not the one actively scouting 100s of players and choosing who Liverpool sign. Nor is he scanning through stats on the laptop and picking players.
Thus the impact of his departure isn’t a clean break for Liverpool – they’re not starting afresh. The rest of the transfer team remains in place, working as it has done for years.
Julian Ward, who oversaw the creation of Liverpool’s loan department, has been the assistant sporting director. He steps into Edwards’ shoes, rather than wiping everything clean and rebuilding.
Liverpool, then, will operate in the same way as before, with mostly the same people. How Ward manages this team and directs it will be key – but it’s not the seismic change that many believe it to be.