Juventus chairmans comments might hint at Liverpool and Michael Edwards transfer mistake – Liverpool Echo

Juventus chairmans comments might hint at Liverpool and Michael Edwards transfer mistake – Liverpool Echo

Liverpool fans expecting a big summer of transfer spending after a quiet January might be disappointed.

The Reds brought it both Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies on deadline day but for bargain prices.

Amidst the coronavirus pandemic – the impacts of which are likely to be felt for several transfer windows to come – clubs all around Europe will struggle to pay anything like the fees that they have been prepared to in the past, according to football finance expert Kieran Maguire.

Meanwhile, keeping hold of stars clubs already have, offering new contracts to key men like Sadio Mane, Neymar and Paul Pogba to name just three, could be more of a priority with funds perhaps better spend there than on new additions.

“As far as the summer of 2020 goes, it was noticeable that there were no €100m-plus signings made,” Maguire told the ECHO on a special special Bood Red podcast.
“[That was] for two reasons: prices had dropped in the market because selling clubs were more desperate to sell, and buying clubs didn’t have money to spend, and secondly the Premier League was criticised by politicians for the money it did spend.

“The Premier League spent twice as much as LaLiga or the Bundesliga and Serie A but the negotiators were relieved at the relative lack of spending as they put forward the case for allowing elite sport to return.”

Elite sport needed to return for financial reasons as much as anything else, with Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli recently estimating total amount of losses across Europe due to the pandemic to be as high as £7.5bn due to reduced fan revenue, TV deals and commercial agreements.

Listen to the special football finance podcast by clicking HERE

“The numbers [in terms of transfer fees] are likely to be down overall because in 2020, we had three months of matches behind closed doors. That will be extended to 12 months for this summer,” Maguire explained.

“Clubs are also aware that while the Premier League has been hit, continental Europe has taken a much bigger hit.

“There is a greater reliance on matchday income and we have seen the French TV deal collapse, so French football is facing a more severe financial crisis than the Premier League.

“That will be a natural driver of fees going down and there is less money to spend but there will be a few exceptions.

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“Those clubs who are funded by ultra-high net worth individuals – we are talking Chelsea and Manchester City here – are far more immune to the financial consequences of Covid.

Roman Abramovich spent £250m last summer because it is loose change to him – there is a far stricter financial model at FSG and that has plenty of merits.”

Liverpool may also have missed their best chance to move on players like Marko Grujic and Harry Wilson as a result of the market collapsing further on last summer.

After the 2019/20 season, Michael Edwards demanded close to £40m for the pair with no club prepared to pay the asking price for either.

Neither player is particularly impressing while out on loan this season, but even had they done so, getting that figure for them would still have proven difficult.

Michael Edwards and Jurgen Klopp.jpg 

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“The whole market has fallen and for the mid-tier players, there has been a greater acceleration in the decline of fees,” Maguire outlined.

“The reason for that is there have historically been a lot of clubs willing to pay in the £8-15m bracket and an awful lot of those will say they will do Bosmans and loans.

“Trying to sell those players in that bracket will be more difficult.”

So while some bargains might be available in the overseas market, and possible targets like Dayot Upamecano have relatively modest release clauses that come into effect this summer, the days of enormous outlays across Europe are still some way off.

For Liverpool, that is likely to mean the best time to offload some of the players who have no future at Anfield might have already passed.

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