Michael Edwards is a Liverpool legend despite never setting foot on the pitch or in the dugout.
The club’s sporting director has been responsible for Liverpool’s transfer dealings in recent years, coinciding with a very successful period for the club.
However, earlier this week, he announced in an open letter to fans that he would be leaving at the end of the season.
“To be part of this club during this period has been a privilege due to the people I have been fortunate enough to work with and the success we have enjoyed,” Edwards wrote. “But all good things must come to an end and, in my case, I recently completed my final summer window as Liverpool sporting director.”
Julian Ward, who is Edwards’ assistant will take over the role.
But following the news that Edwards will be leaving Liverpool, we wanted to look back at all the signings he was responsible for and rank them. We’ve only focused on first-team signings.
The club have got it right more times than they got it wrong but there are a few dodgy signings along the way. So, without further ado, here is our ranking of signings Edwards made at Anfield from ‘Incredible’ to ‘Waste of money.’
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Waste of money
- Naby Keita
- Takumi Minamino
- Ben Davies
- Dominic Solanke
We actually think Keita is a great player on his day. It’s just a shame his day is few and far between his constant injuries. Liverpool will feel they haven’t recouped his £48 million fee so far.
Look up ‘bit-part figure’ in the dictionary and you’ll see a picture of Minamino. After his arrival from Red Bull Salzburg in January 2020 for £7.25 million, the Japan international has played just 21 Premier League matches – most of which from the substitutes bench. Jurgen Klopp clearly doesn’t fancy him.
Liverpool were in the middle of a defensive crisis last season when they snapped up Ben Davies from Preston. The fee was minimal but, considering Davies hasn’t played a single minute for the club, it’s got to be considered a waste.
Liverpool ended up paying Chelsea a £3 million tribunal fee for Solanke. He was young at the time but the striker scored just once in 27 appearances in all competitions. He may not have been good enough for Liverpool but he’s currently banging in the goals for Bournemouth.
- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
- Sepp van den Berg
- Andy Lonergan
There have been times when Oxlade-Chamberlain has looked really good in a Liverpool shirt. Before his serious knee injury during the 2017/18 campaign, he was brilliant. But he hasn’t quite been the same since and is more of a squad player these days.
Thiago’s start to life at Liverpool hasn’t been as promising as he would have liked. He’s been ill and suffered numerous injuries. There have been good moments, though, and more is expected from the world-class Spaniard.
To be honest, the only reason we haven’t put Adrian in the ‘Waste of money’ category is the fact he didn’t cost the club a penny. He has cost them a few matches, though – most notably against Atletico Madrid during the 2019/20 season. He’s now the club’s third-choice goalkeeper behind Caoimhin Kelleher.
Sepp van den Berg was Liverpool’s only signing the summer after winning the Champions League. He played four domestic cup games and now is on loan at Preston. He even played against Liverpool earlier this season. Still only 19, we can’t judge the young Dutchman too harshly.
After Alisson’s injury at the start of the 2019/20 season, goalkeeper Lonergan was signed from Middlesbrough. He never made it on the pitch but was on the bench during the club’s Super Cup and World Club Cup victory. Like Adrian, he didn’t cost a penny so has found himself in this category.
- Ibrahima Konate
- Xherdan Shaqiri
- Kostas Tsimikas
- Ozan Kabak
Liverpool signed Konate for £36 million in the summer and he’s only played four times for the club. He impressed during the 5-0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford and is highly rated at the club. But he hasn’t played enough matches to warrant a higher ranking.
Shaqiri was never really a Klopp-type player so he did pretty well to last three seasons at the club and contribute to Liverpool’s incredible success during that time. He arrived from relegated Stoke for £13.5 million and played 63 times. Highlights include his brace against Manchester United and his assist for Georginio Wijnaldum during Liverpool’s 4-0 victory over Barcelona.
Tsimikas played just seven times last season as he was very much second-fiddle to Andy Robertson. However, he’s already surpassed that tally of appearances this season and has looked really good in the process. Roberston’s place in the starting line-up could genuinely be under threat.
Loaned from Schalke at the same time Davies arrived, Kabak helped Liverpool out of trouble and contributed to them qualifying for the Champions League. The youngster was far from fantastic but he helped out with 13 appearances during a troubled time.
- Harvey Elliott
- Diogo Jota
Fabinho has established himself as one of the best defensive midfielders in world football and, at £39 million, has proven to be a bit of a bargain. He’s helped out at centre-back at times but when he’s not in midfield, Liverpool miss him dearly.
Forget about his shocker against West Ham last weekend, Alisson has transformed Liverpool’s goalkeeping problems. He’s been sensational since signing for £66.8 million in 2018. Liverpool fans will never forget his incredible header against West Brom last season that helped them finish in the top four.
Liverpool snapped up Elliott as a 16-year-old from Fulham, paying just a compensation fee. He made a few appearances during the 2019/20 season before impressing on loan at Blackburn last campaign. This season, he started several matches and looked brilliant until a serious injury sustained at Leeds. The 18-year-old will be back – and he’s a serious talent.
Liverpool have found it hard to sign a quality striker who was willing to compete with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino. However, they managed to convince Jota to join the club in 2020 for around £45 million. And he’s been brilliant with 18 goals in 44 appearances. Now, there’s not a sudden panic if one of the three aforementioned stars is injured for a few matches.
- Andy Robertson
- Virgil van Dijk
- Mohamed Salah
Robertson hasn’t been at his best this season but you can’t argue that £8 million for the left-back is an incredible piece of business. The Scot struggled to get in ahead of Alberto Moreno when he first arrived but hasn’t looked back since. He missed just four Premier League matches in three full seasons and played a pivotal role in Liverpool winning both the Champions League and Premier League.
Van Dijk became the most expensive defender in football history when the club paid £75 million for him in January 2018. Liverpool had wanted to sign him in the previous summer but were made to wait after Southampton made a complaint. But the Dutchman was worth the wait, wasn’t he?
We’ve saved the best until the end. In truth, Salah probably deserves a tier of his own. Signed for £43 million, the Egyptian has scored a ridiculous 140 goals in 218 appearances for the club. Incredible.
So, all of Edwards’ signings have been ranked and it’s clear that he was responsible for some incredible purchases made by the club.
The likes of Van Dijk, Salah, Robertson, Fabinho and Alisson have all contributed massively to Liverpool’s success in recent years.
He may not make headlines like one of those players – or Klopp – but Edwards will go down in Liverpool’s history.
He will be missed.
Oh, by the way, we have no idea why Jota is a picture of a dog and Salah is topless. We’re not responsible for the images…