Mention the name Ian Ayre to Liverpool fans and they don’t quite know how to react.
There is no doubt the club’s chief executive officer has done plenty of good things at Anfield since arriving in 2007, overseeing the takeover from Fenway Sports Group and contributing to the recent extension of Anfield’s Main Stand.
But Ayre has received plenty of criticism for his role in transfers.
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In 2012, he created a transfer committee during Brendan Rodgers’ reign which led to numerous questionable signings, while they also seemingly failed to land many targets.
This led to many supporters fearing the worst whenever Ayre travelled to get a signing over the line with deals for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Willian, Alexis Sanchez and Yevhen Konoplyanka all falling at the final hurdle.
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However, it’s not been all doom and gloom in terms of transfers for Ayre. He’s revealed the one signing he considers the best he’s been involved with - Philippe Coutinho.
The Reds paid just £8.5 million for the 20-year-old back in January 2013 and it’s proved to be one of the best signings in the club’s history.
The Brazilian, now 24, has gone on to become one of the best attacking midfielders in the Premier League and is worth a lot more than £8.5 million in the current transfer market.
And Ayre has identified the purchase of Coutinho as his favourite during his time dealing with transfers for Liverpool.
“I have also loved being involved in transfers, the buying and selling of big players. We always approach the transfer window with the same objectives, to do the best we can do and as efficiently as possible," he told FC Business.
“We have good windows and bad windows but it’s other influences that often dictate how well it goes. You win some and you lose some but there have been highs and lows.
“My favourite signings have included Philippe Coutinho. I remember sitting in the corridors of Inter Milan for the CEO for what felt like five days, trying to convince him to sell Coutinho to us, and then jetting him back to Liverpool in time for him to sign before transfer deadline day.”
Ayre will leave Liverpool this summer when his contract expires after seven years at the Merseyside club.
No matter what Liverpool fans think of Ayre, they have to be grateful for him bringing Coutinho to the club for such a small fee. The midfielder is reaching new heights this season, having already scored four goals this season and producing some dazzling displays and if he ever leaves Liverpool, will surely command a fee in excess of £40 million.