Watford’s 22-year-old winger Ismaïla Sarr was one of the most promising young attackers in England last season and, following his club’s relegation and Timo Werner’s unwillingness to wait for the Reds, many wondered if Liverpool could move to sign him.
Recent chatter has had Liverpool at least interested and making contact with his agent, and today a reliable source, David Lynch of The Evening Standard, has move the transfer tale forward: Watford have set an asking price and Liverpool are emergent frontrunners.
The price that Watford are said to have set is more than £40M, unquestionably high but hardly unexpected given Sarr joined them from Reims last summer in a £30M deal and nothing he showed on the pitch last season will have hurt his transfer value.
As for the player’s potential fit, a 22-year-old pacy, highly technical, goal-scoring winger with some added promise as a developing playmaker seems ideal—though clearly as of today Sarr is short of the quality of a regular starter for the league champions.
He would be good enough, though, to be first option to both Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané—a player Sarr is said to idolise as they came up through the same academy in Senegal—in the short term while having plenty of room to develop further.
Further, while his transfer fee seems high—particularly for a club that already passed on Werner—any deal would be expected to be paid out over five years whereas Chelsea agree a three-year payout in place of Werner’s RB Leipzig £48M release clause.
Add in wages that would be at most half of what Werner would have demanded and a likely much lower agent fee on top of it, and signing Sarr could conceivably cost the club roughly 50-60% of what bringing in Werner would have over the next 12 months.
None of which means it’s time to welcome Sarr to Liverpool—the fee remains high, and Watford have a reputation for being a difficult club to deal with. However, Sarr certainly seems an ideal target, and the Reds being cast as frontrunners is promising.