In a world of football transfers, contextualised by social media, where every cough and splutter can be reported before a deal happens, the signing of Luiz Diaz shows exactly why Liverpool are a power house of the modern game.
Jurgen Klopp’s evolution of the club since arriving in October 2015 has been astounding and his implementation of the world famous gegenpress bore fruit immediately. Victories over the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City, not to mention reaching two cup finals, without buying a single player, showed just how good a coach he is.
Since bringing the likes of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk to Anfield, and turning Trent Alexander-Arnold into a world class player, Liverpool have reached a level previously only seen on old videos and in history books.
While the German has set the tone with his mentality and tactical identity, he has needed everybody to follow his lead. The Liverpool board have backed him and, having previously been viewed as an issue in the days of Brendan Rodgers, their collective approach to transfers has been crucial. Not only are the stars they’ve acquired all roughly the same age when they seal the deal, under 25, but none of them were particularly superstar ready.
It is easy to forget now, given many believe he was robbed at last year’s Ballon d’Or ceremony, but Salah split opinion. The £35m fee didn’t please everybody because he’d struggled at Chelsea beforehand and performed well in Serie A with Fiorentina and Roma, not a league that holds the cache that it did, say, 25 years ago.
But that is what Liverpool do.They sign good players and make them great. Van Dijk and Mane were the same; there were doubts because they’d come from Southampton, especially given the £75m fee paid for the former. There were plenty who believed he was overrated at that price but everybody has eaten their words now. Liverpool are clever in the market, able to compete with richer clubs because they know their targets and are ready to stretch their budgets for them. Although they mainly focus on deals which would otherwise slip under the radar.
Any doubting of this strategy should really have been eradicated by Diogo Jota. Previously a sporadic scorer at Wolves, he moved to Anfield for £45m in 2020 and many people assumed he would provide back up for Salah, Mane and Roberto Firmino in attack. Howeve, averaging just under one in two Premier League games since, it has been increasingly difficult for Klopp to leave him out.
Most impressive when it comes to Liverpool’s business is how swift and efficient it is, news of transfersL is sought out now and there are so many peoples desperate for rolling updates. More often than not, they get it. But after the initial shock that Liverpool, a club who usually stick to summer business with the obvious exception of van Dijk, were going to make a major play in January, nobody was surprised to hear just how quickly they’d acted.
Porto winger Luis Diaz has attracted a number of admirers in England,and all the noise had been surrounding Tottenham’s interest until it was announced the Reds were in advanced negotiations. The deal was almost done before anybody could speculate about it. They moved incredibly similarly with both van Dijk and Fabinho in the past.
Just like the others before him, Diaz may appear like a luxury signing. The type of player who can make an impact on the existing team dynamic but not become a key component within it. He isn’t a major goalscorer, with just 22 in the Portuguese Primeira Liga over three years but he is strong, quick and direct; the perfect clay to be moulded by Klopp.
At the age of 24, he ticks every box as a typical Liverpool signing. The plan was to wait for the summer but, after hearing of Spurs’ pursuit, they stepped up early, showing the lack of fluster and understanding of the market required to be an elite club.
Losing sporting director Michael Edwards, the driving force behind this effectiveness Liverpool with transfers, in the summer will be a huge blow. Whether it will blunt their sharpness is another matter.
Liverpool have become such a well oiled machine in the Klopp era that, although this will create a challenge as will losing the manager himself, reportedly in 2024, they are showing the sort of calmness needed to gradually move into another cycle. In that sense, Luis Diaz could just be the start.
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