6 Nov 2015

Transfer Rip-Off? Expert claims Liverpool 'overpaid' by £11m for 'exciting' summer signing. Agree?

Over the summer, Liverpool paid £29m for Brazilian attacker Roberto Firmino, who became the third most expensive signing in LFC history. The Reds have a history of being ripped-off in the transfer market, but did make the same mistake again and overpay for Firmino?

According to ESPN football analyst Rafael Honigstein, the answer is YES:

"Liverpool overpaid for Firmino. There was a Premier League premium. Dortmund were also interested but they wouldn’t have paid €40m [£29m]. His value was around €25m [£18m]".

Based on current evidence, it's hard to disagree with Honigstein's contention.

Firmino in Numbers

* 18 weeks as a Liverpool player.

* £29m Transfer fee.

* £60k-a-week salary (£1.8m over 18 weeks)

* £30.8m total cost to Liverpool so far (£29m transfer fee + £1.8m salary)

* 2 goals/assists in 12 appearances (0 goals/2 assists).

* 551 minutes played. £15.4m cost-per-assist/goal.

* £55,900 earned for every per minute of pitch time.

Right now, when it comes to fulfilling his primary role (i.e. scoring and creating goals), Firmino - hailed as an 'exciting' player by Ronaldinho - is offering Liverpool negligible value for money.

Granted, he's been injured, but players like Payet, and Ayew have hit the ground running this season, and they're also new to the Premier League.

The injury excuse is only valid for a limited period of time, and at some point, Firmino has to start scoring/creating goals on a regular basis.

The Brazilian is not a kid; he's 24, and entering the prime of his career, and Liverpool already have enough attacking midfielders who consistently fail to score/create goals.

In my view, the key to getting the best out of Firmino is giving him a run of games in ONE position, and that should be as a number-10. Firmino's stats prove that he's most effective playing centrally. At Hoffenheim:

* 153 appearances overall. Central attacking role in 71% of those games.

* Contributed 70 goals/assists in 109 apps as a number-10 (Goal/assist every 1.5 games).

* Conversely, Firmino was significantly less effective out wide. As a left/right winger: 12 goals/assists in 36 apps (Goal/assist every 3 games).

Coutinho's comparative stats for Liverpool:

* 115 appearances overall. Central attacking role in 55% of those games.

* Contributed 22 goals/assists in 64 apps as a number-10 (Goal/assist every 2.9 games).

As the stats show, despite playing in a comparatively inferior team (Hoffenheim), Firmino was far more prolific than Coutinho in a central role. By the same token, Coutinho is more prolific than his compatriot from wide positions.

As such, it's arguably a no-brainer: Firmino should be given a run of games in the number-10 position, and under Klopp's tutelage, he'll have a great chance of succeeding in the role.

Right now, it appears that Liverpool overpaid for Firmino, but I have faith that the Brazilian prove to be value for money, and will not go the same way as Adam Lallana, a player for whom the Reds definitely overpaid.

Author: Jaimie K



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