Liverpool should be looking at emulating a recent Brighton transfer strategy in order to make a transfer for an exciting young player with an expiring contract.
Recently, Brighton has been at the forefront of smart recruitment. Not afraid to dip into markets outside of the more ‘traditional’ leagues, the coastal side has capitalized on market changes in the aftermath of Brexit and have made some bold yet effective transfers in the process.
The list is extensive, from Moisés Caicedo (signed from Ecuador) to Kaoru Mitoma — plucked from Japan. Both the South American and the Asian markets have offered Brighton an opportunity to invest in bright emerging talent for relatively cheap prices, increasing their transfer values in order to help not only elevate Brighton in the Premier League, but also give the club the option to make major profits in the future.
It’s a strategy Liverpool should look to follow given FSG don’t always have the financial resources to compete with the club’s far wealthier rivals, and a league like the J.League could be an excellent place for investment for the Reds.
Japanese football in general is on the rise. The World Cup was proof of that. Japan ʙᴇᴀᴛ both Spain and Germany to finish top of the group in Qatar and were unfortunate to be knocked out on penalties by Croatia in the round of 16.
But it was a young squad, and the potential to go even further in 2026 is definitely there, with more and more Japanese players catching the eye in top leagues in Europe, giving the national team a rich player pool to chose from.
At the same time, despite these developments and growth, transfer sale fees from the J.League are still relatively low, meaning European clubs can pick up players on the ‘cheap.’ This is why Liverpool should look to increase its presence on the continent, and the club can start by scouting the J.League straight away.
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The new season has recently got underway, with just two games played so far, and as always there will be plenty of players looking to make a mark. One Liverpool should keep an eye on is Mao Hosoya, who was voted the Best Young Player of the Year in the J.League in 2022, and who has started this season with two goals in two games.
Hosoya, who is 21, made 12 goal contributions in the league last season, and he is looking likely to better than this season after an impressive start. He also has four goals in seven games for Japan’s U23 side.
A typical poacher, Hosoya is the kind of striker Liverpool doesn’t really possess at the moment. Dangerous with his head, and exemplary at finding pockets of space inside the box or running behind defenses, he has an excellent ability to find the back of the net and his finishing is one of his strongest points.
Last season he averaged a goal conversion percentage of 19.05, which ranked him among the top ten most effective forwards in the J.League as per Wyscout. He also got 52.38 percent of his shots on target, which ranked him as the third-best striker in the league.
Not only that, but he is also a forward who contributes his fair share of defensive duties effectively. Out of forwards who averaged four or more defensive duels per 90 last season in the J.League, Hosoya ranked in fourth place for defensive duels won, winning 62.93 per cent. These are the kind of stats that would make him an excellent fit for Liverpool’s gegenpressing style of play.
Since Divock Origi left last summer Liverpool has lacked a true finisher in ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋ who can come on and help Jürgen Klopp’s side decide games. Hosoya could be an ideal fit, and having already entered the last year of his contract, which expires in January 2024. Over the summer, Liverpool could have the opportunity to snap him up for a bargain fee.