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Billy Beane, the “Moneyball” star, thinks that Liverpool may have hit the jackpot by signing Dutch star Sepp van den Berg last year. Beane, who’s work signing value for money players as a Major League Baseball coach saw his story adapted into a film, says that Liverpool may have picked up a real coup in Van den Berg.
“Last year, Liverpool picked up a young man who was playing in Eredivisie as a 15 or 16-year-old, Sepp van den Berg,” he told the Liverpool Echo.
“To me, that transaction was fascinating because everyone is looking for young players, and just because somebody is young doesn’t mean that they are going to be a great player.
“What is interesting is when you take a 15 or 16-year-old – in the States, he would be in his second year of high school – and if he is playing at the average Eredivisie level and he is 15 or 16, that to me is the real exploitation of data.
“We’ll see how it turns out, but there was a lot of evidence that it was an incredibly shrewd, cost-effective risk to take on a guy that you had data on at a very young age.”
Beane went on to say that the signing of Van den Berg could go on to be as cost-effective as Mohamed Salah’s or Virgil van Dijk’s.
“At Liverpool, a great example is Mo Salah,” he added. “They spent about £40million on him from Italy, which is a lot of money.
“At the time, people thought that was too much but as it turned out, he was worth far more than they paid for him. To me, that’s a great example of exploiting a data advantage – spending a lot of money, but getting far more value out of it than what people expect.
“It’s not just Salah – it’s Virgil van Dijk. He is the most expensive defender in transfer history and I don’t think anybody would tell you that he hasn’t been worth that and more.”