Diogo Jota has been labelled as the ideal man to boost Liverpool’s title defense by putting pressure on their famed front three forward line.
Liverpool are set to land the Wolves ace in a £41m deal although the Reds will have to pay just £4m up front after another piece of masterful transfer wheeler-dealing by Anfield sporting director Michael Edwards.
Wolves have agreed to take transfer installments for the player with the first payment less than 10% of his valuation. The plan will see Liverpool hand Wolves just £5m this year, with a further £1m due by December.
The move is also being funded by defender Ki-Jana Hoever going the other way for a fee rising to £13.5m.
The Jota deal seems to make perfect sense for Liverpool.
While having Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino as their attacking trident makes Liverpool the envy of every club in Europe, it comes with a problem.
How do you find a player good enough to put pressure on them and yet realise he will have to bide his time and often be on the bench?
Divock Origi has filled that role at times and is a cult hero at Liverpool for his key goals in the Champions League. The Belgian scored twice in the thrilling semi-final comeback against Barcelona and sealed victory in the final with a late strike against Tottenham.
But he didn’t have the impact Jurgen Klopp hoped last season. What’s more, Origi’s skill-sets too often didn’t seem to chime when he was given starts.
Klopp is also reluctant to throw Rhian Brewster into the mix too early. He recognises the youngster’s talent but doesn’t believe he’s at the level yet to provide realistic competition.
Speculation about a loan move or transfer involving a buy-back deal continues.
Why Klopp was so keen to land Diogo Jota
So this is where Jota comes in.
The Portuguese star is an established Premier League player and his numbers are eye-catching.
The 23-year-old scored 16 goals and provided six assists in 48 games last season. He’s also played four times for his country.
The frontman has scored 16 times in the Premier League since Wolves were promoted two seasons ago. That tally includes a hat-trick in a 4-3 win over Leicester.
And with the Molineux club having a packed fixture list due to European involvement, he’s also accepted that it’s a squad game and been prepared to come off the bench.
While Timo Werner was linked heavily with a move to Anfield this summer, Jota was the cheaper option. And, perhaps, also the better fit.
It was claimed that Werner wanted assurances that he’d be first choice. That was always going to be unlikely.
But Jota will be easier to slot in and The Athletic claim Klopp wanted the player because of six key attributes:
- Eye for goal
- Work rate
- Ability to play across the front line
- Intelligence on and off the ball
Jota ticks all those boxes and has been deployed in various roles during his time at Wolves.
Liverpool have thrived by putting round pegs into round holes and they look to have pulled off another smart bit of business here.
His impending arrival makes it an exciting week for the champions following the signing of Bayern Munich star Thiago Alcantara. That was a£20m deal with only £5m to be paid up front.