Michael Edwards pulled over a £24m masterstroke when Liverpool fans least expected it

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Michael Edwards pulled over a £24m masterstroke when Liverpool fans least expected it

Michael Edwards is a god among Liverpool fans thanks to the amazing work he has done in the transfer market in recent years.

It’s hard to imagine many behind-the-scenes staff at football clubs whose departure is rumored to make headlines, but that’s exactly what happened recently when news broke that Edwards could be leaving Liverpool at the end of the season.

He is held in such high regard for his ability to unearth diamonds from the transfer world, buying players who seem to be perfect for the team and Jurgen Klopp’s style of play, often without costing the earth.

But Edwards has also built his reputation on his ability to sell players incredibly well, a vital asset for a club like Liverpool, which has to compete with clubs funded by nation states or oligarchs.

In this regard, he has made few better deals than a year ago this weekend selling Rhian Brewster to Sheffield United for £23.5 million.

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While there are many factors that influence a transfer fee, and the ever-increasing inflation in football means that players will now be sold for far more than their illustrious predecessors once were, it is truly remarkable that Brewster’s sales are eighth in history. of Liverpool (per LFCHistory).

After all, the U-17 World Cup winner only made four appearances for the club, with a pitching time of 192 minutes, or a shadow over two full games. In addition, Brewster also did not score or assist on a goal for the Reds.

One thing he had done, however, was that he was able to thrive at the championship level, thanks to a loan spell with Swansea in 2019/20. Brewster scored 11 goals in 22 appearances, with his non-penalty goal percentage of one every 168 minutes, putting him in the same ballpark as Jarrod Bowen (163), Aleksandar Mitrovic (165) and Ollie Watkins (170) that year.

Sheffield United didn’t expect to be relegated last season after a fine campaign of their own in 2019-20, but Brewster’s performance could have endeared him in case they happened to go under last season.

And let’s not forget that the young man had a great summer in Liverpool’s brief pre-season before they started defending their Premier League title.

Brewster played the second half of the Reds’ opening game against Stuttgart, scoring the final goal in a 3-0 win by converting a cross from James Milner.

Even better was to come in the next match against Salzburg. When Brewster came off the bench in the 63rd minute, Liverpool were two goals behind thanks to a brace from future Leicester forward Patson Daka, but he scored twice to ensure the Reds had reached full-time pairings.

His last appearance in Liverpool, however, was a strange one. Brewster was called off the bench in stoppage time to take a penalty in the Community Shield shootout against Arsenal, but he shaved his spot off the top of the bar.

No one would have considered this anything more than unfortunate at the time, but in hindsight it almost served as a harbinger of doom for his 2020/2021 campaign at Sheffield United.

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Brewster played 27 league games for the Blades, albeit only 12 starts, and failed to score. The fact that he scored just 1.7 expected goals in 1,128 minutes (per FBRef) speaks volumes about the struggles his new side had to endure, but clearly he didn’t have the impact they had in mind when he took the record purchase of the club made.

And sadly, he still hasn’t, with a strike against Carlisle in the EFL Cup in August, his only goal for Sheffield United.

It is far too early to write the 21-year-old off. Dominic Solanke moved from Liverpool to Bournemouth for the same money and initially struggled. Since then, he has scored 22 goals and assisted a further nine in the past 12 months.

But as things stand, Brewster’s big money sale looks like yet another transfer master stroke from Michael Edwards.

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