Manchester United and Chelsea have contacted Michael Edwards, who was responsible for some of Liverpool’s most successful transfers in the club’s recent history
Edwards stepped down from his role at Liverpool at the end of last season, handing the reins to his former deputy Julian Ward, and is currently without a job in football. While the 43-year-old is not in a rush to take a new role, having previously stated he wanted to take time out of the game, he has been shortlisted for two of the biggest jobs in the Premier League.
United are reshaping their recruitment set up and, according to the Daily Mail , football director John Murtough has identified Edwards as one of the people who could lead that overhaul, along with Brentford’s director of recruitment Lee Dykes and Middlesbrough’s head of football Kieron Scott. The Times reports that Chelsea owner Todd Boehly has also contacted Edwards following the departure of director Marina Granovskaia from the club.
Edwards spent 11 years at Liverpool, progressing from technical analyst all the way to sporting director. Having joined from Tottenham in November 2011, he quickly developed a reputation for his use of data in recruitment and has a CV bolstered by many successful transfers at Anfield. Here Mirror Football takes a look at five of his very best.
Virgil van Dijk
Van Dijk’s £75million move from Southampton to Liverpool in January 2018 received plenty of attention at the time – partly for the size of the fee and partly for the acrimony surrounding the transfer. Over four years later there is only one reason why the deal is remembered: for being a key part of establishing Liverpool as one of Europe’s best teams.
The towering Dutch centre-back settled in straight away at Anfield and soon looked like one of the best players in his position in the world. Van Dijk already looks like value for money, having been a near ever-present in 180 appearances. He’s been the bedrock behind Liverpool’s recent success and is a great example of a club identifying who they wanted and not being put off by a price tag.
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Before Van Dijk came another transformative signing. Salah was signed from Roma in July 2017 for an initial fee of £36.9m which could rise to £43.9m with add-ons was particularly significant because it represented a club record at the time, eclipsing the £35m spent on Andy Carroll six years prior.
Salah was a long-term target for Liverpool, who were convinced he was exactly what they needed. Edwards and his recruitment team were right. While he had scored 29 goals in 65 appearances for Roma, at the time Salah did not look like a surefire bet, having already failed in a first Premier League stint with Chelsea. But the Egyptian has blossomed into one of the world’s best forwards, with 156 goals and 63 assists in 254 appearances for the club.
Another transformative transfer from Roma. Alisson cost £66.8m (€72.5m) in July 2018 – an eye-catching fee which at the time made him the most expensive goalkeeper of all time, before Chelsea shelled out for Kepa Arrizabalaga a month later. The Brazilian was identified as a perfect fit for Liverpool’s playing style under Jurgen Klopp and has proven to be just that.
The importance of a good goalkeeper who is comfortable coming off his line to sweep up in behind the high defensive line has been obvious several times over the past season. Much like his compatriot Ederson at Manchester City, Alisson has been a hugely successful signing.
HAVE YOUR SAY! Who is Michael Edwards’ best signing for Liverpool? Comment below.
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Liverpool have created a well-trodden path between Merseyside and Southampton over the years and Mane is just one of their many successful transfers. The Senegal international arrived on the back of two impressive seasons for the Saints and cost £34m in June 2016. He has left Liverpool with his reputation as a club legend established after contributing 120 goals and 48 assists in 269 appearances. His partnership with Salah and Roberto Firmino will go down in the club’s history as one of the very best.
The rest of the deals on this list show Liverpool being guided by Edwards’ data to spend big on players. Robertson is a different story. The Reds paid Hull City just £8m for Robertson in July 2017. It was an inspired piece of understated business. The Scottish international has established himself as one of the best and most consistent left-backs in world football. His partnership with Trent Alexander-Arnold on the other flank is perhaps the key stylistic trait of Klopp’s Liverpool side, with both players prolific creative outlets.