In the space of just a few years Liverpool went from being an unfortunate depiction of ‘hit and miss’ in the transfer market to the model club, building one of the best teams in Europe on a budget well below that of some of their rivals.
Liverpool have spent big to secure Alisson Becker and Virgil van Dijk under Jurgen Klopp, but their net spend for the last five years stands at just above £90m.
For context, that is lower than the net spend of every other ‘Big Six’ side as well as Aston Villa, Bournemouth, Brighton, Everton, Leicester City, Newcastle United, West Ham and Wolves.
The way Liverpool have shrewdly built their Premier League champions-elect side is in stark contrast to the way Arsenal have blundered through the transfer market during the same period.
The Gunners have spent close to £450m on new signings over the last five summers but remain well behind the staggering pace set by Liverpool and Manchester City.
Jurgen Klopp could repeat first Liverpool transfer window strategy
The recent fates of these two clubs, however, could be intertwined with just one transfer.
At Anfield, Aubameyang would stand a better chance of lifting the silverware that has so far evaded him in two years at the Emirates Stadium.
But raiding their Premier League rivals would be completely out of sync with the recent transfer strategy employed by Klopp and Michael Edwards.
Scouting can never be entirely scientific, but the network at Liverpool has allowed them to judge that Andy Robertson, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane would be successful for the club.
What’s more, the money paid for these players represented a perpetual search for value.
Liverpool would have to pay big to prise Aubameyang from Arsenal even with the forward’s contract set to expire in the summer of 2021.
He is set to turn 31 this summer, would that really represent good value?
There’s little doubt that Aubameyang would be a good fit for Liverpool – but whether or not he would be a first team starter is less clear.
Klopp’s loyalty to his lethal front three of Firmino, Mane and Salah is well established and it’s difficult to envisage anyone – not even Aubameyang – disrupting that rhythm.
That Klopp has managed to keep all three of his starting forwards content to this point deserves credit and there has been not so much as a hint that Firmino, Mane or Salah might seek a new challenge.
This is the sign of a happy camp.
It’s true that Liverpool must continue to strengthen and a new forward could be near the top of the list.
But while a move for someone like Timo Werner – a young striker with his best years ahead of him – would make sense, a swoop for Aubameyang wouldn’t hold water in the same way.
It would represent a departure from a strategy that has worked so well for Klopp and Liverpool.