Liverpool has sealed the transfer of PSV forward Cody Gakpo, with the Netherlands forward reinstating some of the attacking depth that Jürgen Klopp has recently lost.
It has taken almost the whole of the Jürgen Klopp era and the process will never stop, but with the signing of Cody Gakpo, Liverpool might well feel that a long-term plan has come together nicely.
The man who started the process, Sadio Mané, has already departed, and the one who was already there, Roberto Firmino, might not be for too much longer, but Liverpool has been working towards the position they are in now in attack for a while.
Gakpo will soon join Mohamed Salah, Luis Díaz, Darwin Núñez, Diogo Jota and Firmino to make a six-strong senior attacking unit after his transfer was confirmed, with Kaide Gordon, Ben Doak and others backing them up as young prospects who will want game time.
Their six senior options — Núñez aside at an initial £64m ($80m/€75m) — have arrived for what most would deem mid-range transfer fees. Gakpo, like Díaz a year ago, arrives for a guaranteed sum of £37m ($45m/€42m).
Salah was around £36m ($44m/€41m), Jota £41m ($50m/€47m) and Firmino £29m ($35m/€33m). None of those fees are insubstantial and most clubs could not afford them, but it is also true that they have proven excellent value.
They are also figures well below what many attackers move for in the current time, totalling £244m ($295m/€277m). Neymar alone cost PSG a world-record £195m ($236m/€222m), for example, while Manchester United spent £85m ($106m/€100m) on Antony in the summer.
Firmino, as things stand, will leave Liverpool on a free transfer at the end of the season, because his contract expires. There is a chance that he could pen an extension, of course, but if he were to leave, he should be replaced with someone else unless Gordon or Doak are ready by that point to take another big step.
Slowly but surely, Liverpool have worked themselves into a position that — when all of them are fit, which admittedly won’t be a good while yet — the Reds can call upon six top-class forwards who offer a variety of skills that can be selected depending on the opponent.
When Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino offered depth in attack last season, the benefit was huge — and Liverpool almost went all the way in every competition. Neither of them, until now, had been replaced, but with Gakpo the numbers have been bolstered again — and with a much better player than either Origi or Minamino at that.
When the summer comes, Liverpool either need to retain or replace Firmino and make sure that this time, their forward line stays six-strong for longer than six months, not least because for a significant chunk of the second portion of the campaign, Díaz and Jota are going to be sidelined.