If they could, Liverpool fans would erect a statue of him. The problem: they don’t really know what it looks like. But they are aware of what they owe him. The myth of Michael Edwards was thus built around Anfield: discretion, modernity, hard work and success. If Jürgen Klopp is the irrefutable leader of the exciting project of the Reds, Edwards is the undeniable architect. “His contribution to our success is visible to all“, even admitted the first last November.
To evoke this “guru” of transfers, there are first the numbers and the names. The figures, first: 50 transfers all stack since 2016, more than 600 million spent but also 440 million cashed in which it is absolutely necessary to underline. The names, then: Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané, Robert Firmino, Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson, Fabinho, Alisson, Thiago Alcantara for arrivals. With a record sale at a high price – really very high – of Philippe Coutinho (160 million) to largely finance these XXL works.
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If you needed a symbol of this impressive transformation, it would be this one: the first eleven fielded by Jürgen Klopp when he arrived in the winter of 2015. What a long way since then…
“Frankly, this is clearly not the stereotype of a sports directorRedknapp told The Athletic in 2020. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. You will almost never see him in costume, he is not necessarily super pleasant, with a personality that takes up space. When you look at him, with his puff, he seems harmless, very quiet. You tell yourself that this guy is more the type to be behind the goals“.
Michael Edwards, the sporting director of Liverpool behind many decisive recruits for the Reds (visual: Quentin Guichard)
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But with Brendan Rodgers, the agreement is cold. “For me, the manager must be the sporting director“, asserts the coach of the Reds at the time. Lazar Markovic, Adam Lallana, Christian Benteke join Liverpool for staggering prices and equally disappointing results. The bill is paid by Rodgers, sacked. He is a Jürgen Klopp at the fresh look coming to Anfield.
His desire to recreate an organization chart with a sports director to support him, like Michael Zorc at the time of Dortmund, allows Edwards to take the lead. In 2016, he became sports director, after having held the position of director of methodology. But the real turn is played in the summer of 2017.
In the summer of 2021, he refuses to offer the contract demanded by Georginio Wijnaldum. Quite the opposite of Klopp. The rest of the story, again…”We do not always have the same opinion at the start but we end up being on the same wavelength after many exchanges“, explained the German again. His duet with Ian Graham, director of the research and data department in Liverpool, will have worked wonders. But it is almost already in the past that this story is told.
Michael Edwards et Jurgen Klopp
Credit: Getty Images
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