Tuchel Liverpool reaction
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Michael Edwards has informed Liverpool that he will be leaving his role as the club’s sporting director next summer when his contract comes to an end. And he could leave Jurgen Klopp the perfect transfer gift.
Edwards joined Liverpool as head of analytics in 2011 and took on his current role five years later.
He has excelled since his move towards the upper echelons of the Liverpool hierarchy and has been tasked with a plethora of jobs, including overall football development, player identification, acquisitions and retentions.
The £142million fee Edwards negotiated from Barcelona for Philippe Coutinho in 2018 is the highest figure a British club has ever received for a player.
That fee dwarfed the £75m that Edwards agreed to pay Southampton in exchange for Virgil van Dijk just days earlier.
Van Dijk is arguably the defining signing which transformed Liverpool into world-beaters and, within three years of the Dutchman arriving at Anfield, Liverpool had won the Champions League, the Premier League and the Club World Cup.
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Edwards has illustrated just how astute he is in the transfer market by helping the club capture the likes of Mo Salah, Alisson and Diogo Jota.
And it is the transfer policy he has overseen in the opposite direction which really makes him stand out as one of the best sporting directors in the world.
In 2017, Edwards managed to get £26m from Crystal Palace for Mamadou Sakho and he negotiated a fee of £19m from Bournemouth for Dominic Solanke in 2019.
Then last year, Edwards persuaded Sheffield United to part with £23.5m for Rhian Brewster, who has struggled to make any sort of impact at Bramall Lane.
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Edwards’ legacy at Liverpool will be clear for everyone to see when the time comes for his exit and he will be a hard man to replace.
And Edwards could leave Klopp with the gift of a lifetime if he can persuade Kylian Mbappe to move to Anfield when his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expires next summer.
Mbappe is regarded as one of the best strikers in world football and has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid this summer.
But that deal appears to have stalled and Mbappe could now be set to stay at PSG for one more season.
The France international will be free to talk to other clubs from January and will also be able to sign a pre-contract at the turn of the year.
Real will still be favourites to land Mbappe, but it would certainly not be a surprise to see Edwards work his magic one final time to hijack the deal and complete one of the biggest transfers the Reds have ever seen.
And what’s more, he wouldn’t have to pay a penny for the 22-year-old as Mbappe will be free to walk away for nothing.
It will certainly be a big ask to land Mbappe but, if Edwards can pull it off, he will cement his place in Anfield folklore for eternity.
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