Leandro Trossard made Premier League history on Sunday to continue his great start at Arsenal. Could Liverpool take a transfer lesson from the Gunners’ deal?
Liverpool reportedly regards Brighton’s Moisés Caicedo as one of the ‘top alternatives’ to primary midfield target Jude Bellingham.
The Reds, Manchester United and Chelsea have all included him on their shortlists ahead of a ‘likely’ move away from the Amex Stadium in the summer, as per Sky Germany journalist Florian Plettenberg.
But Caicedo’s future may have already been sealed, had Arsenal’s huge January push been successful.
The Gunners saw two bids for the Ecuadorian rejected, the second of which was worth up to $85m (£70m/€79m), according to BBC Sport.
In the end, they ended up signing a midfielder for a fraction of the price, with Chelsea’s Jorginho making a shock move for around $15m (£12m/€14m).
The consensus is that, across his five starts so far, Jorginho has deputized well for Thomas Partey and been an influential midfield presence.
The reaction to the signing was mixed at best, largely negative at worst, but it has come to look like a smart piece of business from the Gunners.
In attack, it was a similar story.
Arsenal wanted a big-money transfer — Shakhtar’s Donetsk’s Mykhailo Mudryk — but lost out, this time because Chelsea gazumped them with its $108m (£88m/€100m) package.
And once again, the plan B, Brighton’s Leandro Trossard, was levels cheaper at just $26m (£21m/€24m), largely because he had only 18 months left on his deal and didn’t intend to sign another (via BBC Sport).
Trossard continued his excellent start to life at Arsenal on Sunday by setting up all three goals in his side’s imperious 3-0 win over Fulham.
He became the first player in Premier League history to achieve that feat away from home and took his tally of goal contributions to six in nine league appearances.
His record looks even better when you account for the fact he’s only started four matches. He’s averaging a goal or assist every 65 minutes.
The success of Leandro Trossard at Arsenal could inspire Liverpool
While Trossard has unquestionably been one of the best signings of the January window, $108m man Mudryk has made an underwhelming start at Chelsea, failing to score in any of his first seven outings and only managing one assist. He’s been named on the bench three times, and left there for the full 90 minutes twice.
Ultimately, the Ukrainian may well possess a higher ceiling than his counterpart. At 22, he’s six years younger, and he’s still adapting to the league.
But in a way, Arsenal’s failure has proved to be a blessing in disguise, because it needed the swifter impact of Trossard in its title battle with Manchester City.
This, then, raises an interesting question for Liverpool as it prepares for its most important transfer window in years.
How much of an emphasis should it place on Premier League-proven players who can hit the ground running?
Yes, it needs to plan for the long-term too, but it also must maximize the remaining years it has before key players like Virgil van Dijk (31), Andy Robertson (29), Thiago (31) and Mohamed Salah (30) start to decline.
Players from outside England can be instant hits too, of course, as Liverpool know. Salah is probably the best example.
But many foreign imports understandably need time to adapt before they can reach their absolute top level, and the overall risk is greater.
Players like Trossard, while too familiar to be all that exciting, do offer as close to as guarantee as you can get. After posting eight goal contributions in his first season with Brighton, he’d delivered double figures in every campaign since, and had already reached that benchmark at the midway point of 2022/23 with Brighton. He clearly had what was needed to be a success at a bigger club.
The value of players who have proven themselves in the most difficult league in the world, and are already acclimatized to the game and to the environment, shouldn’t be underestimated.
In midfield, the main focus this summer, Liverpool has been linked with the likes of Alexis Mac Allister (via Football Transfers), Mason Mount (via The Guardian) and James Maddison (via Football Insider).
All are known quantities at this level, and none are over the age of 26. Mount and Maddison would even come at a knockdown price, like Trossard, because of their respective contract situations. Certainly, neither would come close to $108m.
The success Arsenal has enjoyed with its January additions, especially Trossard, should give Liverpool food for thought. When ‘guaranteed’ Premier League hits come without the usual premium, it is always worth a look.