When Liverpool completed their second major transfer deal in as many days last week, following up the signing of Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich with the capture of Diogo Jota from Wolves, most fans were ecstatic.
A few, though, were taken aback by the fee. A hefty £41M rising to £45M for the attacker. Big numbers in any window, but especially this summer. But former Red John Aldridge thinks Jota will be worth it—because he trusts Liverpool to identify talent.
“It might seem a lot of money to some people but Liverpool fans should trust the manager implicitly because look how many decisions he’s got right,” Aldridge wrote today his column in The Liverpool Echo.
“If he believes Jota is worth that, with Ki-Jana Hoever going the other way, it could be a really good deal for Liverpool. Our striking options are looking really good now. Mo Salah [is] as hungry as ever and Sadio Mane displayed what he’s all about again at Chelsea.”
That Hoever went the other way is key, as if a fee that could rise to £45M seems high for Jota, one that could rise to £13.5M for Hoever seems equally inflated, and knocking around seven million off each seems rather more fair.
Both deals, though, the one for the 23-year-old Jota and the other for Hoever, the highly promising 18-year-old defender with a handful of cup appearances Liverpool bought for £80k two years ago, on the surface at least appear similarly inflated.
That should take the sting out of Jota’s advertised cost, as £32M plus Ki-Jana Hoever looks a more reasonable price for a winger with 26 goals and 13 assists in 85 appearances over the past two seasons and whose underlying numbers compare favourably to Sadio Mané when Liverpool bought him.
Add in Jota’s 18 goals and six assists in 46 appearances in 2017-18 with Wolves in the Championship, and you clearly have a talented young player fully acclimatized to English football and with plenty of room still to grow.
The fee is reasonable, as long as you can find your way past the advertised top line number. And the player is very good, with room to grow, and fills a clear need for the Reds. It’s a deal that should be celebrated, not doubted.