Liverpool should be all over David Ornstein update as perfect first Arne Slot transfer emerges

Feyenoord's Dutch coach Arne Slot reacts as he speaks during a press conference at Celtic Park stadium, in Glasgow, Scotland, on December 12, 2023, on the eve of their UEFA Champions League Group E football match against Celtic.
One transfer could get the Arne Slot era at Liverpool off to a flying start. -Credit:ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

Arne Slot will certainly feel some pressure if, as expected, he is the man chosen by Liverpool to replace Jürgen Klopp. But in many ways, a lot of that pressure should be on the newly-constructed backroom team.

Michael Edwards, of course, comes with an already-glittering reputation, and plenty of credit in the bank. But almost given the keys to the kingdom in this new 'CEO of football' role, he will need to prove he can deliver.

Meanwhile, incoming sporting director Richard Hughes has a pretty good track record, but is far more of an unknown quantity among Liverpool fans. And with it having been made very public that transfer power will not lie primarily with Slot, who is set to join as 'head coach' rather than manager, the onus is on those alongside him to get the recruitment decisions right and provide him with a competitive team on the pitch.

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As such, all eyes will be on the first transfer of the summer. Not only will it be the first transfer of the Slot era, but the first of the Hughes era, and the first of the (second) Edwards era.

And after the latest update from David Ornstein, Liverpool could have the perfect candidate. The Athletic journalist revealed that Mohammed Kudus of West Ham has a release clause in his contract.

"If those guys [Kudus and Lucas Paquetá] have their hearts set on a move away, and the suitable offers arrive, then you suspect some movement could take place," Ornstein said on The Athletic FC Podcast. "I'm not saying it will, but we know that Lucas Paquetá is still wanted by Manchester City.

"In terms of Kudus, there's a release clause too. He's newer to the club, he's done fantastically well so far, I suspect he'd be looking to stay for a bit longer. But we don't know, there's always interest in him, multiple clubs showed that before he ended up joining West Ham.

"I think we reported on the likes of Arsenal, definitely Brighton. Manchester United have been rumored admirers of him for a long time, and many others. Chelsea were another one too."

Naturally, you'd hope Liverpool would have known about the clause in Kudus' contract long before the Ornstein update. But this is the first time it's been made public knowledge, and it means a transfer suddenly makes a great deal of sense.

Kudus already had the profile of a smart addition — still young, highly dynamic and now proven in the league. But getting him for even a vaguely reasonable price seemed unrealistic, given he only joined West Ham last summer.

But if Liverpool can trigger a clause — something it did with both Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai last summer — then it should be all over it, provided it is within the realms of fair market value. Slot is known to love his wingers, and Kudus offers everything you could want.

The 23-year-old has the versatility to play just about anywhere in the attack. Wherever he starts from, he's guaranteed to get at opponents and take them on. That's a fundamental skill when it comes to opening up space, but it's a profile somewhat lacking from the squad Slot is set to inherit.

When it comes to dribblers, Luis Díaz is probably the pick of the bunch. But his 2.28 successful take-ons per 90 minutes are dwarfed by the 3.66 produced by Kudus (FBRef). The West Ham man has also been a more reliable provider of goals over the last year — and while his abnormally high average number of tackles might have appealed more to the outgoing Liverpool manager, it would suit Slot just fine as well.

Of all the clubs mentioned by Ornstein, Liverpool is not one of them, so Edwards and Hughes would need to beat off plenty of established competition in order to get Kudus. But with the release clause revealed, it looks to be the perfect transfer to start the Slot era.