This past summer, Liverpool made one of the best transfers of any top club in European football, and the brilliance of this signing becomes even more apparent when you juxtapose it with the signings other rich Premier League clubs made.
No, Dominik Szoboszlai wasn’t exactly a bargain on a 70 million euro release clause from RB Leipzig, but this transfer is the classic example of why it’s better to pay a premium for actual clear quality, rather than mucking around with players who weren’t successful for another Premier League. If they weren’t great for them, why would they be great for you?
Szoboszlai is better than Havertz, Mount
That’s the trap Manchester United and Arsenal fell into when they signed two players that the most disappointing club in the Premier League, Chelsea, didn’t even think were good enough for them. Chelsea sold Mason Mount to United and Kai Havertz to Arsenal.
They very clearly didn’t want either player, yet they were still able to get 84 million euros out of Havertz and 64.2 million out of Mount.
For a similar price, Liverpool bought a better and younger player (by one year). Szoboszlai has been in the discussion as one of the best midfielders in the Premier League this season, beefing up his defensive contributions to fit as a midfielder in a 4-3-3.
As Szoboszlai showed at RB Leipzig, he is already one of the most accomplished playmakers in world football and also quite capable of making a big impact on the right wing with his golden left boot.
Szoboszlai making an all-around impact
Dominik Szoboszlai has the game-changing technical ability Mason Mount doesn’t. He is a much more consistent player than Havertz, who hasn’t shown the game-breaking quality that made him a young superstar at Bayer Leverkusen.
This season, Szoboszlai is averaging 2.3 key passes per game, as well as 2.3 combined fouls drawn and dribbles completed per match. He’s averaging 1.8 combined tackles and interceptions per game on the defensive end.
Meanwhile, Mount can barely get on the field for a woeful United side that doesn’t look like they are anywhere near Champions League contention. He has 401 minutes of action and no goal contributions with few meaningful actions on the pitch.
Arsenal’s Havertz has been more industrious and defensive in North London. He’s not a flop, but for a fee of 84 million euros, it’s clear that Liverpool have obtained the better deal in Szoboszlai.
Liverpool spent with a purpose
Havertz’s numbers pale in comparison to the Hungarian’s, given he’s averaging just 0.8 key passes and 0.1 (!) dribbles completed per game.
Liverpool opened their checkbook to sign Szoboszlai for 70 million euros from the Bundesliga, but they recognized a talented player with additional upside who fits what they are trying to do.
Manchester United signed a player they didn’t need, while Arsenal paid an elite price for a player who functions as a niche rotational piece.