Julian Ward's signings at Liverpool – ranked

In one of the more surprising news stories of recent days, Julian Ward is in contention to join Manchester United.

According to the Telegraph, Ward – who spent 11 years at Liverpool, working his way up from a scout to sporting director – is being lined up for the top recruitment role at United, following Jim Ratcliffe's 25% takeover at Old Trafford.

Ward famously succeeded Michael Edwards as the Reds' transfer chief in 2022, but stepped down at the end of last season, with Jorg Schmadtke since appointed as an interim replacement.

Despite only enjoying a brief stint as sporting director, Ward's fingerprints can be found all over Jurgen Klopp's current squad.

Here are the six first-team signings he oversaw at Liverpool – ranked.

6. Calvin Ramsay (£4.2m, 2022)

Preston North End's Calvin Ramsay (22) during the Pre-Season Friendly match between Preston North End and Aberdeen at Deepdale, Preston, England on 22 July 2023.

A relatively inexpensive arrival from Aberdeen, Ramsay appeared a top prospect, having won the Scottish Football Writers' Young Player of the Year Award.

However, the right back made just two appearances in 2022/23 before a serious knee injury and subsequent surgery cut his maiden season at Liverpool short.

He was sent on loan to Preston this summer to get back on track, but the injury issues have persisted and he has played just 132 minutes of football across two games in 2023/24.

It's an unfortunate situation rather than a bad judgement, but currently Ramsay couldn't look further away from breaking into Klopp's side.

5. Fabio Carvalho (£7.7m, 2022)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, August 31, 2022: Liverpool's Fábio Carvalho (L) celebrates after scoring the winning second goal in the 98th minute during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-1.(Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Another talented youngster tipped for big things, Carvalho arrived at Anfield as one of the Championship's outstanding attackers, having enjoyed a breakthrough campaign as Fulham won promotion back to the top flight.

Things initially looked good, with the Portugal Under-21 star scoring twice in the early stages of the 2022/23 campaign – including that late winner against Newcastle. However, things went south quickly after that and he was barely used at all in the second half of the season.

Carvalho then pushed for a loan move in order to get more game time, but his temporary switch to RB Leipzig hasn't really worked out either.

The 21-year-old has started just one Bundesliga game in 2023/24 and reports claim Liverpool are considering cutting his deal short.

What happens next is anyone's guess.

4. Cody Gakpo (£35m, 2023)

Cody Gakpo, ProShots

It's fair to say that along with the move to a three-box-three system, the arrival of Gakpo midway through last season helped changed Liverpool's fortunes for the better.

The Dutchman scored seven times in the second half of 2022/23 – including twice in the 7-0 win over Manchester United – and found success as a potential Roberto Firmino successor.

However, with many expecting the former PSV man to continue his form into the new season, things haven't really clicked... yet.

A knee injury and squad rotation have contributed to a disjointed campaign for Gakpo, who has scored just twice in 17 Premier League outings (albeit in only nine starts).

There is definitely a player there but the Reds are yet to see it on a consistent basis.

3. Darwin Nuñez (£64m, 2022)

Jurgen Klopp and Darwin Nuñez

The most debate-provoking footballer in Liverpool's recent history, Ward and Liverpool went all out for Nuñez in the summer of 2022, having identified the striker as the focal-point 'number nine' the club needed in the post Firmino-era.

Nuñez had impressed against Liverpool in the Champions League for Benfica and Ward's ties to Portugal helped get the big-money deal done.

Early comparisons to Erling Haaland – who arrived in England the same summer – were unfortunate, while Nuñez first year and a half has been marked by both the ridiculous and the sublime.

When he's good, he's very good, but Liverpool need it more consistently.

For all his faults, the Uruguayan Chaos King remains beloved by the Anfield faithful and if he can be a little less erratic in front of goal, he'll prove a hell of a signing by Ward in the long term.

2. Luis Diaz (£37.5m, 2022)

Luis Diaz - Propaganda

LUTON, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 5, 2023: Liverpool's goal-scorer Luis Díaz after the FA Premier League match between Luton Town FC and Liverpool FC at Kenilworth Road. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Something of a surprise capture in the January window of the 2021/22 season, Diaz's transfer from Porto was apparently pushed forward to head off interest from Tottenham.

The Colombian enjoyed a strong start and played a key role in the Reds' remarkable quadruple push – he was even named Man of the Match in the FA Cup final – and has remained Klopp first-choice left winger, when fit.

Diaz's energy and dynamism was missed badly when he sat seven months of the 2022/23 campaign with a knee injury.

Since his return, his form has been a little patchier. However, he has remained an important player for Klopp, while also having to deal with the kidnapping of his father earlier this year.

1. Alexis Mac Allister (£35m, 2023)

Alexis Mac Allister, Liverpool, Fulham, Pro Shots

The final signing Ward oversaw as sporting director at Liverpool might just turn out to be his best.

Liverpool reacted ahead of their rivals to land a cut-price deal for Mac Allister – one of the Premier League's best midfielders and a World Cup winner – at the start of the 2023 summer transfer window, having been aware of a release clause in the contract extension he signed at Brighton the season before.

There has been much debate over the 24-year-old's best position, with Klopp using Mac Allister at the base of midfield for most of his appearances so far, but there is little doubt over his quality and ability to strike a ball.

The definition of a shrewd signing.

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