Liverpool has been labelled by fans over the past number of years as being a ‘selling club’. The sales of high profile players like Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso, Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling since FSG took over the club, has done little to convince Liverpool fans otherwise.
With Barcelona bidding in excess of £100m for Philippe Coutinho, it’s imperative that FSG did not fold and, for once, show the bigger clubs that they will not be bullied into selling one of the clubs most valuable and prized assets this summer.
Selling high profile players is not just a Liverpool thing.
Over the years, other top six clubs in the Premier League have all sold valuable players to rivals, with Chelsea being the biggest culprits of all.
The Premier League is littered with Chelsea rejects. Players like Daniel Sturridge and Dominic Solanke of Liverpool and Romalu Lakuku and Nemanja Matic at Manchester United, would show that Chelsea would be a bigger selling club than Liverpool.
It’s not just Chelsea who have been known to sell their best players either. Clubs like Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund could all be classified as selling clubs.
The tag that Liverpool are a selling club is another branch with which certain fans use to beat the owners. We all know the fan favourites who have left Anfield to pastures new, but only a small handful of them have gone on to show that the grass was greener on another pitch.
Other players have left Liverpool and gone on to become mediocre players or retired players with two to three years after leaving Anfield.
This summer has shown that even the mightiest of clubs are fallible when it comes to losing star players. When Barcelona sold Neymar to PSG for over €200m, it created a tsunami in player prices. Players who in an ordinary market would be valued at £30-£35m are now valued at over £50m and clubs, especially Premier League clubs, are happy to pay exorbitant prices for mediocre players.
Liverpool, over the years, have been left red-faced when high profile signings have slumped. Andy Carroll, Stuart Downing, Dejan Lovren, Lazar Markovic have all come to Liverpool on big money and, with the exception of Lovren, have all failed to live up to their price tags. For the record, I am not a Lovren fan and think he should be no where near the starting eleven.
With Liverpool being caught out so many times in the past, it comes as no surprise to me that the owners see the sense in selling players at their peak to invest the money back in the on the club, whether it be on player purchases or improving the facilities around Anfield.
While the above will not make fans happy they need to look at it from a neutral point of view. Clubs like Liverpool cannot go out and spend silly money on players like Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs. It just does not make financial sense and it can ruin the club in the long term. Look at what happened to Leeds United and Blackburn Rovers in the last twenty years as a result of silly spending on players.
Will Liverpool continue to sell players to the highest bidders? Of course they will. What club would not want £100m sitting in their bank accounts. Will selling fan favourites every two to three years please fans? No, but Liverpool now have a steady stream of players coming through from the Academy that would be able to replace a Philippe Coutinho or a Sadio Mané. This is something fans need to look at.
Players like Ben Woodburn, Ryan Kent, Sheri Ojo and Ovie Ejaria will all be regular starters for the first team over the next few seasons..
Until UEFA or FIFA actively prosecute clubs for breaching the FFP regulations, clubs are able to bid high amounts of money on players knowing that they are exempt from any prosecution or fines for not adhering to FFP.
Liverpool’s owners are not going to risk the wrath of FIFA and UEFA again after being slapped with a transfer ban from signing young players. After the debacle with Virgil Van Dijk, the owners are even more cautious when it comes to approaching and signing players.
To a degree, they have learned from the mistakes of the past but they still have a long way to go before the mentality that Liverpool are a ‘selling club’ tag is gone.