Despite his recent success in bringing world-class talent to Anfield, Liverpool’s sporting director hasn’t always reaped the glory and is held responsible for some pricey unsuccessful signings.
According to Bleacher Report, Michael Edwards hit a few dips in the road during his early days at Liverpool and is reportedly held accountable for the failed transfers of the likes of Iago Aspas, Lazar Markovic and Christian Benteke. Indeed, the latter pair cost over £20m each, per Transfermarkt.
Whilst Brendan Rodgers was still at the hilt, he and Edwards reportedly had their fair share of tensions. The Northern Irishman fully believed he should be the only one to oversee any footballing strategies. “I always think the manager is the technical director,” Rodgers explained.
Despite Edwards’ more recent wonder signings including Virgil van Dijk and Alisson, he has had to grow into his position like any other and his early days didn’t sit well with fans. One supporter started a petition to remove Edwards as the club’s sporting director after the flop of Markovic and others.
Like many other members of a club’s hierarchy, growing pains are an inevitable part of the process. Fans felt the struggles of bringing in subpar players whilst trying to bolster the squad. The arrival of Benteke cost Liverpool £32.5million and the Belgian striker managed just 10 goals in 42 games (via Transfermarkt).
Benteke arrived from Aston Villa a month after Roberto Firmino was poached from Hoffenheim (via BBC Sport). The chasm in quality between the two strikers is stark – the Brazilian was kept on by Jurgen Klopp after he succeeded Rodgers, whilst Benteke was shipped off to Crystal Palace where he has struggled with just one goal this season.
Firmino currently has 77 Liverpool goals and 59 assists to his name (via Transfermarkt) and is the highest ever scoring Brazilian to grace the Premier League. The 28-year-old’s market worth has also spiked since his move to Merseyside – valuing at £22.5million in 2015, Firmino is now worth a hefty £81million (Transfermarkt) thanks to his success under Klopp and Edwards’ keen eye to bring him in.
Former Liverpool sporting director Damien Comolli headhunted Edwards from Tottenham Hotspur to help with a new data-led approach to Anfield tactics. “You are struck with how intelligent he [Edwards] is,” Comolli said in an interview last year.
The Reds have definitely had some faux pas signings, but no one can take away the way Edwards has recently transformed this Liverpool squad when they truly needed it most.
What do you think, Reds? Has Michael Edwards redeemed himself for some of his questionable transfers? Join the discussion in the comments below!
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