Liverpool could have a double £51m transfer boost after ‘goosebumps’ hint at Diogo Jota repeat
Diogo Jota may be a lone wolf at Liverpool right now, but wolves usually travel in packs. A double transfer boost could lead to the former Molynieux star getting hunting partners at Anfield.
Given the resounding success of Jota’s transfer, it’s a safe bet that Liverpool’s recruitment department are keeping a close eye on the team they signed him from. Jürgen Klopp has suggested the same in the past, calling Wolves’ wingers ‘incredibly intense’ – it’s a trait he greatly values and which aids the chances of a smooth transition to the legendary front three for anyone lucky enough to make the trip.
If Klopp was watching on Sunday, he will have been particularly intrigued by two players. The first came only in the last 10 minutes against Leicester, but it was a significant contribution: it was Pedro Neto’s first action for 10 months, following a serious knee injury. A special moment, the player described how it gave him “goosebumps”.
Liverpool have already been linked with a move for the Portuguese winger, and they are sure to follow his progress as he returns. At just 21, he could have a huge future ahead of him if the injury doesn’t cause permanent setbacks. The first signs were encouraging.
Neto admitted that even the 10-minute outing meant he was “tired” and that contributed to a late missed chance. With Kasper Schmeichel set for a late Leicester corner, Neto led a breakaway, but after cutting inside to evade coasting defenders, he was unable to guide the ball into the unguarded net. However, the pace was still there for all to see, and the back and forth motion would have looked very familiar to Liverpool fans.
Valued at £31.5m by Transfermarkt, a stable figure since the injury, Neto wouldn’t come cheap. Still, Liverpool have proven with Jota that they are willing to spend when convinced by the player. The same deal proved that Wolves are receptive to selling, and even structuring payments sensibly; it moved the pendulum away from Timo Werner, for whom RB Leipzig demanded the full transfer fee upfront.
All of this has the recipe for a special FSG transfer, especially as Neto would have all his peak years ahead of him at Anfield. Klopp would have the chance to turn the youngster into the perfect Liverpool winger – a label that already somewhat applies, if his 22.91 pressure for 90 in the 2019/20 season is anything to go by.
The second part of the transfer double boost isn’t quite as obvious, or as typical of FSG, but Daniel Podence will also have caught the eye. At 26, he’s older than the typical signing, but only a year older than Jota and recent acquisition Luis Díaz. If Liverpool like his look, his age is unlikely to be prohibitive.
There’s a lot to love. Against Leicester, Podence was the hero, looking outside the box to secure victory for Wolves. Scored down the right side with his stronger right foot, it wasn’t a typical Liverpool goal, but the former Olympiacos man is the picture of versatility. In fact, he was at least nominally featured as a phantom striker rather than a winger – and in that season alone he also played as a centre-forward, left winger, right winger and attacking midfielder.
Klopp loves a versatile striker, as Jota himself has proven. Podence also shares some of his former teammate’s pressing instincts, though not quite to the same extent as Neto. If he followed the well-trodden path to Liverpool, it seems highly likely that he would quickly level up in this regard.
His estimated transfer fee is also far lower, at just £19.8m, bringing the potential combined fee to just under £51m. It’s barely more than Liverpool paid for Díaz in January, and would represent something of a summer bargain.
Whether Wolves will become the new Southampton remains to be seen; the “incredibly intense” style hasn’t necessarily been the same since Bruno Lage replaced Nuno Espirito Santo, making clubs a little less on a profile game. Nonetheless, anyone who has used the same methods as Jota has a good chance of moving to Liverpool, and Klopp may have just seen two potential transfer targets on Sunday.