Klopp struck gold on Anfield star whose value has risen by 7,489%
The 2022 World Cup had concluded and club football had picked back up. It was still December. Those of a Liverpool affiliation were confident that the poor start to the season could be washed away after the international pause, but if anything, it only compounded their struggles.
Jurgen Klopp cut a forlorn figure, with his dynasty close to unravelling, and while the Reds flapped and floundered, there was a bright spark in the emergence of prodigious youngster Stefan Bajcetic.
The teenage midfielder burst onto the scene shortly after Argentina gleaned gold in Qatar, and while he had made his first series of substitute appearances earlier in the campaign, it was his barrelling run into the box off the bench against Aston Villa on Boxing Day to confirm a much-needed win for the Anfield side.
Ultimately, a continuation of the poor form that had stained their season resulted in a failure to qualify for the Champions League, a first-time occurrence during a full season with Klopp at the helm, with a midfield drained of intensity and invention and an overall loss of cohesion resulting in a fall by the wayside.
Such is in the past now, and Liverpool – boasting a reformed midfield – have started the 2023/24 season with aplomb, winning four league matches in a row after drawing against Chelsea for the umpteenth time.
Bajcetic, who saw his impressive breakout season curtailed in March due to an abductor injury, has yet to feature this term, though has spent the past four outings on the bench as an unused substitute, but this does not inhibit his standing as one of the most prodigious, exciting talents Liverpool have held on the books under Klopp’s wing.
How much did Liverpool pay for Stefan Bajcetic?
In December 2020, Liverpool enriched their academy ranks with the acquisition of 16-year-old midfielder slash defender Bajcetic, procuring his signature from Spanish outfit Celta Vigo for a paltry £224k.
Premier League rivals Manchester United were also credited with an interest, but ultimately, Liverpool and Klopp’s vision convinced the Spaniard to make the switch to Merseyside.
Bajcetic would not feature among the seniors for over a year, but did spend the 2021/22 campaign as a regular and thriving member of the club’s development squad, making 22 showings, scoring three goals and registering an assist, before a back injury cut his season short.
His positional versatility could serve him well, capable as a centre-half and actually signed while plying his trade in that position, he has since been guided into a midfield role to better utilise his expansive skills.
It’s been a fast rise, and now valued highly indeed, has already eclipsed the small sum paid for his signature.
How much is Stefan Bajcetic worth now?
According to CIES Football Observatory’s valuation model, Bajcetic currently boasts a market value of £17m, which already marks a whopping 7,489% on the fee paid to sign him back in the final days of 2020.
What’s perhaps most exciting for those among the Anfield ranks is that the teenager will only see his current market value soar over the next few years.
While nothing in football is certain, Bajcetic was so impressive in his feats last year and he boasts all the tools requisite for success at the highest level.
The one-cap Spain U21 international will need to ensure that his injury problems which have, admittedly, plagued him somewhat over the formative years of his development, do not persist, but that aside his qualities are as good as any young midfielder hoping to rise to the foreon the major stage over the coming years.
How good is Stefan Bajcetic?
Hailed as a “top player” and an “exceptional” member of the Liverpool team by his manager, Bajcetic offers all the natural talent, energy and enthusiasm that a manager would wish to see in a budding starlet eyeing a successful future at their football club.
Across his 11 appearances in the English top-flight last term, the 18-year-old completed 79% of his passes and succeeded with 64% of his dribbles, as per Sofascore, and there will be great excitement over the prospect of watching him develop among a robust and reformed crop of positional peers this time around.
The acquisitions of the likes of Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Wataru Endo and Ryan Gravenberch does mean that it is unlikely that Bajcetic will cement a regular starting berth this season, especially with Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott and Thiago Alcantara still in the mix, but he can now nurture his ascent without the burden of holding the centre together, something he was somewhat tasked with last year.
As per FBref, the 6-foot star already ranks among the top 20% of midfielders across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for goals and interceptions, and the top 29% for successful take-ons per 90 – expect to see his metrics continue to burgeon over the coming year, as he continues to grow into his skin.
Described by journalist Zubin Daver as “special”, Bajcetic glimmered among the rubble of Liverpool’s 2022/23 campaign, and given the evident, first-rate talents at his disposal, he may yet rise to be one of the most prominent midfielders in Premier League and European football.
To think that Liverpool secured his signature for just £224k, it may well prove to be one of the Merseyside outfit’s biggest bargains of the Klopp era, and there have undoubtedly been a few.
The Europa League is, without doubt, a slightly bitter prospect for Reds supporters dreaming of further success in the Champions League, having reached three finals and won one since the German’s appointment in 2015.
But it serves as the perfect platform for rising stars such as Bajcetic to use as a launchpad and nurture their talents. There’s a long way to go for this talented teenager, but Liverpool look to have unearthed a diamond and there is every possibility that he will cement himself as a regular starter in an ambitious outfit for years to come.
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