Julian Ward “instrumental” to Alexis Mac Allister deal – with Coutinho transfer also key

Julian Ward has been credited for his influence in bringing Alexis Mac Allister to Liverpool, with the signing of Philippe Coutinho also said to have been a factor.

Mac Allister’s £35 million move to Liverpool was confirmed on Thursday morning, bringing weeks of speculation linking the midfielder with Anfield to a close.

The midfielder joins following an impressive three-and-a-half-year spell with Brighton, during which he captured a World Cup medal with Argentina in Qatar.

It is set to be one of the final acts of Julian Ward’s tenure as the club’s sporting director, with his stay at the club drawing to a close this summer.

Ward’s role in the transfer was described as “instrumental” by the Times Paul Joyce, with his handover to replacement Jorg Schmadtke now said to be complete.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Sunday, December 11, 2022: Liverpool's Sporting Director Julian Ward during the Dubai Super Cup 2022 match between Liverpool FC and Olympique Lyonnais at Al Maktoum Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The outgoing sporting director’s departure was confirmed back in November, having only taken over the position from Michael Edwards in the previous summer.

Schmadtke will now be tasked with dealing with Liverpool’s transfers after his short-term appointment was confirmed last month.

Along with his agent and father Carlos Mac Allister, the 24-year-old has been represented by Juan Manuel Gemelli, who helped to facilitate Coutinho’s signing from Inter Milan back in 2013.

Joyce reported that the relationship struck between the club and the agent was beneficial to Liverpool in getting the signing of the World Cup winner over the line.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 6, 2017: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between Liverpool FC and FC Spartak Moscow at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Despite being more than a decade ago, the connections formed during that transfer are said to have been a key component in Liverpool’s ability to secure the signing of Mac Allister.

The Argentine signed a five-year contract with the Reds, taking on the No. 10 shirt previously occupied by Coutinho himself, along with the likes of Sadio Mane, Michael Owen and John Barnes.

Mac Allister became the Reds’ first signing of the summer, at the start of what is expected to be a busy transfer window to rectify last season’s shortcomings.

Schmadtke will play a vital role in any further signings over the coming weeks, but Ward was able to treat supporters to a departing gift of his own before he moves on.