Liverpool transfer guru Michael Edwards has once again been heralded a “genius” after the Reds’ transfer deadline day capture of Ozan Kabak from Schalke.
After long-term injuries to all three of their main centre-back options – Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip – Liverpool needed to bring in reinforcements at the back.
The champions opted for Ben Davies from Preston and Kabak from Schalke. Davies signed a permanent contract, while Kabak joined on loan with an option to buy.
The latter was the headline addition, as he has experience of top-flight football in Germany. At the age of 20, he is a particularly intriguing prospect.
It will cost Liverpool a further £18m to the £1m they have paid for his loan if they wish to sign him at the end of the season.
However, that is far less than the £35m Schalke were quoting interested parties last summer.
Indeed, speaking to Sky Sports’ Transfer Window podcast, football writer Sam Tighe is amazed at how Liverpool got the deal done for so little.
“Schalke have had their pants pulled down on this one. Financially speaking, they are in ruin,” he said. “They been pretty poor for 12 months and they are bottom of the Bundesliga, but their accounts are in a pretty dire situation.
“To basically let go what is essentially their prized possession in Kabak, a really talented young defender, for a couple of million up front on a loan with a potential to buy if Liverpool fancy it later.
“I don’t understand how they have not been able to press Liverpool into a more difficult position. I know Liverpool obviously weren’t working with huge sums up front. But this feels like a very one-sided deal in Liverpool’s favour, and they were in a state of desperate need.
“I don’t really understand how Michael Edwards [Liverpool sporting director] keeps doing it. Kabak is a good player. He has great physical attributes. He’s aggressive, good in duels and he wins a lot of aerial battles. I am excited to see what he can bring to Liverpool’s team.
“He definitely feels more the calibre and more of the level than maybe Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams were. No offence to them, but Williams was in the National League North last season. It is a big step up – and Kabak is more suited to it.”
Edwards earns more praise for Liverpool transfers
Reds sporting director Michael Edwards has proven a big part of Liverpool’s recent success. Indeed, he landed another gem earlier this season in Diogo Jota. Here, it was explained how he managed to persuade Wolves into the bargain transfer of the Portuguese forward.
Indeed, Sky Sports’ Dharmesh Sheth has again hailed Edwards’ brilliance for bringing in Kabak.
“This is quite a clever deal on the face of it from Liverpool because he’s a young defender. All the reports coming out of Germany say he’s very good” Sheth said.
“Schalke are bottom of the Bundesliga, so you have got to question the fact he’s been playing in a struggling team and they have not been doing very well at all, but Liverpool have been tracking this guy for a couple of years by all accounts, so it was not just something they thought about in this transfer window.
“As we know, Liverpool’s mantra, their recruitment policy has always been to have a long-term view on players.
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“We all remember when they wanted to sign Virgil van Dijk, it didn’t happen the first time around. They did not go for anyone else, they waited, and they got their man.
“I do not know whether this was along the same lines as Van Dijk because I don’t want to put that pressure on Kabak, but he has been a long-term target for Liverpool.
“All of the Liverpool fans we have heard from on social media were very pleased Michael Edwards had done it again for Liverpool in their recruitment.”
READ MORE: Liverpool had ‘monstrous’ bid rejected for first choice before signing Kabak