Jack Grealish? Poor first season individually. Could come good.
Romelu Lukaku? Flop.
Paul Pogba? Mega flop.
Harry Maguire? Mega flop.
Jadon Sancho? Poor first season. Could come good.
Virgil van Dijk? One of the best buys in Premier League history.
Kai Havertz? Decent player, but not worth the money.
Nicolas Pepe? Enormous waste of money.
Kepa? Enormous and hilarious waste of money.
Darwin Nunez? Let’s wait and see…
These ten footballers represent the most expensive incoming transfers in Premier League history. The only one who can be classed as a bonafide success is Liverpool’s own van Dijk. Of the rest, some have been horrendous, some fairly average and some just, meh.
The pattern with these mega-deals is that they don’t always work. But with Nunez arriving at £64m, going up to £76m after appearances, his fee will rightly be focussed upon, especially with rival fans celebrating Jurgen Klopp spending big as if it’s some kind of admission of failure or hypocrisy.
Liverpool balance our books. We spend what is ours and has been commercially or sportingly earned. This summer, we’ll make the Nunez money back from Sadio Mane, one of the best players in the world who we are selling, Taki Minamino, Neco Williams and Nat Phillips. So the idea we’re the same as Manchester City or United is preposterous. Yet, if Nunez starts slowly or doesn’t acclimatise, there will be an intense focus upon him.
For a 22-year-old this will be tough, but the Uruguayan has one enormous advantage that only one other player on the most expensive list has: playing under Klopp.
There is an idea that Liverpool are simply outstanding in the transfer market and never get it wrong in the scouting department.
But what if the case is actually that Klopp and his coaching team have built such a superb, well-rounded, learning environment, that new players cannot help but succeed. After all, do PSG fans think Gini Wijnaldum was a good signing? Are Barca pleased they spent £142m on Coutinho…?
Perhaps the truth is that Liverpool buy good lads whose basic skills fit our tactical set-up and then help them to grow exponentially. So it’s not like we only buy brilliant, hidden-gems nobody else has seen; it’s that these players have the best possible conditions and circumstances to maximise their ability under Klopp. Maybe Mo Salah wouldn’t have been very good at United….
After all, nobody gets better after leaving Liverpool, do they? It’ll be mighty interesting to see Mane in Germany, in this respect. We wish him well, obviously, and predict him to be a success because of his attitude and talent, but there are no guarantees.
Nunez now has the world at his feet. He possesses the physicality and finishing ability to thrive in England, but most importantly, will be working under the world’s best manager. If we can propel him to greatness, hopefully he can do the same to us.