5 transfer masterstrokes that Michael Edwards has pulled off at Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp and the Liverpool playing staff aside, few men can claim to be as revered around Anfield at present as the club’s sporting director Michael Edwards.

Hired in 2016 to spearhead the club’s analysis and recruitment programme, Edwards’ work has helped propel Liverpool from Premier League also-rans to European and World champions on the verge of title success.

Edwards likes to keep a considerable low profile, and prefers to let his actions speak louder than words.

While Klopp has worked magic on the field, Edwards has done the same off it, delivering a number of high-profile signings whilst balancing the books, and offloading several deadwood stars for big sums.

Here are five key masterstrokes the Liverpool chief has pulled since his appointment.

Fabinho sneaks in

They say there’s no smoke without fire, but it seems there can be fire without smoke.

Few transfers make it through the completion stage without at least a whisper reaching the media.

But Fabinho’s transfer to Liverpool in 2018 went so under the radar it came as a complete surprise to the world of football.

To land one of Europe’s top defensive midfielders (and now arguably one of the best) without stirring any competing offers from elsewhere was exceptional, particularly when you consider how high-profile the transfer was.

The deal was wrapped up just days after Liverpool's Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in May, and was a big signal of intent.

The Brazilian has since made a huge impact at Anfield, and £50million almost looks like a snip.

Coutinho for van Dijk plus cash

Whilst Liverpool’s pursuit of Virgil van Dijk did not go quite according to plan, Edwards deserves huge credit for not only landing the towering defender, but also for offsetting the cost against the sale of Philippe Coutinho.

Sure, at the time losing Coutinho looked to be a hammer blow to Liverpool, and few could have predicted how far the Brazilian’s stock would fall since.

But in van Dijk they now have one of the world’s best defenders, who is worth at least double the £75m they paid for him.

In return for Coutinho the Reds received £105m up front, with further funds available as add-ons, and they were able to reinvest the surplus cash later that summer.

Moreover, the Coutinho deal meant Barca would have to stump up an additional €100m (£89m) if they wanted to sign any more Liverpool players before 2020.

Great business.

Minimum for Minamino

After watching Red Bull Salzburg cause a few problems at Anfield, there were no doubt a few Reds fans intrigued by the Austrian outfits Japanese playmaker.

Minamino pulled the strings in attack for his side, and just months later was unveiled as a Liverpool player.

Most impressive was Edwards not only identifying Minamino as a talent months before, but also discovering his cut-price release clause, and completing the deal before other teams got wind.

While the 25-year-old is yet to find his feet on Merseyside, the £7.25m fee looks to be a real bargain, and regardless if he proves to be a hit, his value has already soared.

Balancing the books

As much as Edwards is known for his ability to spot talent, he has also proven to be a shrewd operator when offloading unwanted stars.

Bournemouth have been a somewhat dumping ground in recent seasons, with three players joining the Cherries permanently, while another two have gone out on loan.

Most notably, the sales of Jordon Ibe and Dominic Solanke have been superb business from the club, raising £35m combined.

That figure is all the more significant when you consider the duo made less than 100 first-team appearances between them, and also cost next to nothing when they signed.

Of course Ibe and Solanke aren’t the only players Liverpool have turned a considerable profit on.

Add to that Danny Ings, Danny Ward, Mamadou Sakho, and also much of the money spent on Christian Benteke, while Xherdan Shaqiri is likely to go this summer for more than the £13m they paid for him.

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