Liverpool had been expected to have a quiet January transfer window, perhaps with a few fringe players departing or a promising youth player arriving. Instead, they’ve only gone and signed FC Porto and Colombia star left winger Luis Diaz.
It’s a major transfer, one that could go down at the biggest deal made by a Premier League club this month, with the pacy, high-scoring winger putting pen to paper on a five-and-a-half year contract after the club paid a £37.5M transfer fee that could rise to £50M with add-ons.
For those calling out for a succession plan for Liverpool’s aging attack, Diaz is just that, and while he may arrive at the club as the fifth choice on what now must be the deepest attack in the Premier League, he won’t be expected to stay there long-term.
Diaz’ primary position is on the left, from which he likes to cut in and provide a goal threat as both finisher and creator—and, essentially for a player joining the Reds, an eager presser off the ball. Based on in-game tracking data, it’s also likely he will arrive as Liverpool’s new fastest player.
The Colombian came to professional football relatively late, being discovered by scouts of Atletico Junior in 2015 at the Copa America Indigena after trying out for the tournament and joining the club, his first, at the age of 18.
A season and a half with second division feeder club Barranquilla was followed by two and a half with Junior before he was spotted by FC Porto in 2019 and signed for €7M. His old club Junior retained 20% rights in the transfer and will receive that portion of Liverpool’s fee.
In his time at Porto he scored 26 goals and 15 assists in 77 league games, good for a goal involvement every 120 minutes. This season, he had 14 goals and five assists in 18 league games, good for a goal involvement every 79 minutes making him by most accounts the Portuguese league’s standout player.
At Liverpool he will be expected to be eased into the lineup and given time to adjust both to a new league and country as well as to the demands of playing in a Jürgen Klopp’s side, but the long-term expectations will be for Diaz to become a key player and starter.