How Could Liverpool Exploit the Saudi Millions
The summer of 2023 has seen many representatives of the Saudi Pro League spend an extraordinary amount of money on new players. A desire to fast track their division closer to the elite leagues of Europe seems unlikely to slow any time soon, especially given the number of high-profile names that have now joined their initiative. As more and more deals continue to emerge, so has the audacious manner of recruitment, which saw a large portion of the Liverpool fanbase fearful over whether Mohamed Salah would remain on Merseyside. Despite rumours of a £200m bid, the extravagant overtures were resisted, however, that future deal does appear inevitable.
According to a recent report by Deloitte:
- Saudi transfer summer spend reached $907m, second only globally to the Premier League’s $1.39bn.
- The Saudi Pro League signed 94 overseas players.
- $312m flowed into the PL from Saudi clubs.
What started as a small and select group of ageing stars looking for one last payday, rapidly transformed into a market that could see anyone attained. Liverpool have been able to sell both Fabinho and Jordan Henderson this past summer, for a combined fee of £52m. The fees accrued represented value way beyond their worth, given the tired performances of last year. In this instance, Jürgen Klopp was able to reshape his midfield area and start to establish the groundwork for a successful transformation. Considering these transfers and the premier sale of Mohamed Salah in 2024, I am keen to delve into the other squad members that could be made available to the Middle East empire. Most senior Liverpool players are currently on substantial contracts, which would make it difficult to attract attractive European bids. This new avenue for making sales is therefore something that our next Sporting Director should look at, whether it be the returning Julian Ward or another unknown candidate.
Players That Could Bolster Liverpool’s Regeneration War-chest:
It does appear that the Greek is on the verge of signing a new long-term contract, which I suspect is a case of the club protecting the value of an asset. Just recently, we saw no less than four senior players leave the club (upon expiration of their contracts), thereby creating an unnecessary deficit in our revenue. Kostas is a popular and able squad member, yet he is destined to be little more than a backup for Andy Robertson or any left-sided defender that is signed down the road. A solid season as a rotation or backup player would enable a bid in excess of £20m for the 27-year-old, which should absolutely be entertained by the club.
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceLFC) September 8, 2023
Though I am hopeful of a return to solid and consistent form, it would be ignorant of me to ignore the varying struggles that the England man has faced. In the recuperation period after his devastating injury, the body and mind of the former first team regular is something that needs rebuilding. This is a huge campaign for the 26-year-old, as his fight to be a starting defender continues. In the unfortunate case that more struggles entail, the Saudi Pro League clubs would happily pay in excess of £25m for the 11-cap England international. I would not be surprised if Steven Gerrard had already earmarked the 6ft 2inch red as his next target, with his Al-Ettifaq FC club starting to take shape.
I appreciate and understand the addition of the Japan captain, as a player that offers experience and dependable qualities in the reds holding midfield position. After losing so many seasoned players at the end of last season, to see this energetic ball-winning engine arrive made sense, especially with so many young squad members around him. Sadly, his signing appears reactionary to lost targets in July, which could make his stay at Anfield a short-term one. If Sporting Directors in Saudi Arabia were keen to attract increased Far East interest, then the signing of the Japanese skipper would make all the sense in the world. Liverpool still needs to reshape that defensive midfield area in the next two windows, leading to the £16m signing falling down the Anfield pecking order. A sale to recoup the money paid for the 30-year-old would represent solid business.
Most Liverpool fans quite rightly appreciate the abilities of the Portuguese forward; however, his performances and consistency have been a worry for a good long while now. Despite many comings and goings in the forward line ranks, the former Wolves attacker has never truly solidified his position as first choice under his German manager. A worrying trend of injuries seem to emanate year upon year, which makes him little more than a sporadic option behind the strikers Jürgen Klopp prefers. The 33-cap international will soon turn 27-years-old, which could represent the perfect moment to cash in on a highly regarded striker who will still have three years left on his contract next summer. A fee of around £60m would be demanded and likely paid for a man that often enjoys more individual success for his country than his club. I would certainly entertain offers, with my preferred replacement someone I will be writing about this week.