One goal in 21 games; Liverpool's £15m sale looks like a masterstroke now
On Wednesday evening, Paul Mitchell finally went public with a poorly-kept secret.
One of the game’s most feted talent-spotters will be departing Ligue 1 giants Monaco this summer after three years as the club’s sporting director.
“It was a very difficult decision,” Mitchell, formerly of Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton and RB Leipzig, tells Nice-Matin. “I loved my experience at this club.
“But I have spent a lot of time away from home and my loved ones in recent years. I feel that the mission I had, which was to rebuild the sports project, has been fulfilled.”
Mitchell’s apparent homesickness could play into Liverpool’s hands. The struggling Merseysiders reportedly view Mitchell as the successor to the departing Julian Ward at Anfield (GFFN).
Now, Liverpool have already had dealings with the Stalybridge-born director, selling Takumi Minamino to Monaco last summer for a fee in the region of £15 million (Sky Sports). But while Mitchell’s time in the Principality – like at Tottenham – will be remembered for a fleet of inspired bargain signings, from Breel Embolo to Vanderson, Kevin Volland to Caio Henrique, Minamino is not only one of Mitchell’s most expensive but also arguably his most disappointing.
Liverpool sold Takumi Minamino to AS Monaco under Paul Mitchell
The Japan international defied a shortage of minutes while establishing himself as a reliable goalscorer under Klopp at Liverpool. Monaco would have been hoping that, with regular game-time, Minamino could extrapolate his impressive goals-per-minute ratio at Liverpool up to another level altogether.
Instead, after 21 games in Monaco colours, Minamino’s tally stands at a measly one; his only strike for Les Monegasques coming all the way back in September against a pre-Will Still Reims side. Minamino is currently averaging a goal every 862 minutes under Philippe Clement. At Liverpool, in 2021/22, he averaged a goal every 100 minutes by comparison. Albeit many of those minutes coming against limited opposition in cup competitions.
“Everything is possible in football. I hope this will signal a change in fortunes,” Minamino told the Monaco Twitter back in September; belatedly opening his account for Philippe Clement’s side.
“(I hope this will) allow me to feel even better.”
Six months on, with his wait for another goal ongoing, that ‘change of fortunes’ Minamino was hoping for is yet to arrive.
In other news, Newcastle told Man United’s Scott McTominay would be a ‘perfect’ £40m signing