First and foremost I don’t see this deal getting done. The opposing factors involved seem far too many. However, if the deal did miraculously happen, it would potentially be one of the best signings Liverpool could’ve made. Now at this point there’s already readers saying to themselves “how can you claim that? He could flop, get injured, blah blah blah”. These are all valid concerns that are quickly dashed away by the player’s injury record, playing history and current form. Those points, however valid, will be raised quickly and firmly by people who have zero clue who Teixeira is and probably watch no football other than Premier League and YouTube. These are the same people who doubted Suarez’ fee and “unproven” ability even though he thumped in 50 goals with a suspension to his name, because it was a “poor league”.
The obsession of “proven” talent is easily one of the most laughable, misdirected forms of uneducated bias there is in English football. I for one can’t help but burst out laughing at the “unproven player” claims I see regularly during transfer windows. Just from Ukrainian League players alone it was the same tune, “Mhkitaryan, Willian and Konoplyanka all ‘unproven” whilst completely ignoring the fact that all played Champions League regularly and consistently performed highly. That same argument of “proven” players is what led to us buying Carroll, Downing, Balotelli, Benteke, Lallana, Lovren – the list goes on and on of supposedly ‘proven’ players. Liverpool’s overspending on these domestic “flavor of the month” players, who are completely bang average, is what sets our club back every season. Had we kept Rodgers I honestly believe we’d be discussing throwing £30m at “proven” Alli or Kane right now.
Teixeira is a rare player suddenly available who could correct many of those wrongs very swiftly. Serbia, Croatia, & Ukraine are some of the biggest hotbeds of football talent. Dismissing their leagues because you don’t watch them is daft. I won’t pretend I’m a regular viewer, I’m simply not daft enough to so easily dismiss them – especially with the overwhelming amount of talent coming from those leagues. Alex Teixeira is putting up numbers that would be staggering even for a striker AND HE ISN’T EVEN A STRIKER.
So what’s the deal?
Shakhtar’s owner is a billionaire who wants his club to win the title as a symbolic message during their recent wartime experience. We want his best player who is carrying their team and currently level on points with last year’s title winners. However, Alex has wanted to leave for quite some time and the owner did agree to sell Alex in the summer (as that is when he will be at his expected value and current asking price, £37m). Liverpool reportedly opened the negotiations at £23.5m with incentives which was swiftly rejected. The second offer is believed to be £29m with add-on’s reaching £5m. I’d be very surprised, even with the owner’s firm demands, if a deal couldn’t be reached around £32m with add-ons. It is an agreeable median for both clubs and the player gets what he wants.
Now some are outraged by the fee while throwing out players we could get instead, namely Lacazette. “Liverpool could buy Lacazette instead with that money! The owner said he’d accept £32m!” Yes, Lacazette, who is at a midtable French club with 9 goals this year and a President demanding £32m; yet ‘you don’t want to over-pay for Teixeira’. Riiiight. Arsenal only paid £12m after Giroud’s stunning 21 goal season in Ligue 1, paying £32m for Lacazette would be idiotic to the highest degree. Simply waiting for Lyon to finish midtable and stealing Lacazette over summer for £18m (at the most) is far more sensible.
Let’s move on to the “but we can’t afford him” argument.
Yes, his £37m valuation is large but his £45k per week wage demands dampen the fee. Teixeira’s fee would be a drop in the ocean by the time the season’s over and could be quickly justified if his performances lead us to a top 4 finish. Not to mention we could easily remedy the fee with our much needed fire sale that will occur this summer. Even so, Liverpool aren’t pinching their wallet and haven’t been since FSG’s takeover. FSG have spent £465m since taking over and their spending has only increased over time.
FSG are a multi-billionaire group and delegate all of their ventures very wisely. Their goal was to make Liverpool a self-sustaining, profitable sports organization and to win titles, paying as much as it takes to do so. And to be fair, they have backed their goals with very promising figures before even gaining Champion’s League qualification.
Figures as of May 21st 2014 (so to clarify, this was before we were paid for Suarez, Sterling, Champions League, broadcasting, new commercial deals with Nivea etc.)
- Revenue increased by 19% to £255.6m
- Media revenue increased by 46% to £100.9m
- Commercial revenue increased by 5% to £103.8m
- Profit before tax for was £0.9m compared to a 2013 loss of £49.8m
- Moved up three places to 9th in Deloitte’s Money League
Since FSG’s takeover, they decreased the club debt from £237m down to £57.3m in just 4 years and Liverpool turned their first profit in 7 years in 2014. Furthermore, Liverpool are set to generate an additional £25m in income from the stadium expansion as well as the much anticipated £81m per year broadcasting payments from the Premier League alone. So let’s take a look at some hypothetical numbers:
- If Liverpool managed a top 4 finish this year – £93.76m
- Champions League qualification – £27.38m
- Made it to remaining Cup finals – £7.9m
- New broadcasting deal – £81m
- Commercial revenue – £114.3m
- New Balance kit deal – £53m
- Stadium expansion – £25m
In total, that’s a potential of an additional £402.35m added on to their previously documented £255.6m revenue; which would be an astronomical £657.95m. Even without Top 4 and Champion’s League, we are still adding an additional £281.2m to our revenue stream, which would more than double it. Even after all of those figures there is still probably a portion of readers who don’t grasp finance or economics and will be dismissive of our most positive financial figures in decades – all whilst completely ignoring the fact that billionaires who own our club generate a multitude of incomes and could afford to spend what is necessary for their ventures to be successful. If that weren’t the case they wouldn’t have bought in to a debt-riddled sports club living on a historical reputation.
Why I don’t believe the deal will happen regardless
Our track record with Ukrainian clubs and their owners has been atrocious. The fact that the owner is filthy rich, desperate to win the league title and doesn’t want to let go of the player is enough reasons to believe we won’t get a deal done. Insult to injury he wants no less than £37m and the bulk of it up front. The player wanting the move means sod all. Konoplyanka tried to force his move and the owner simply refused to sign the paperwork, letting him leave for free at the end of the season. Teixeira agreed that the owner would let him go in the summer but he’s desperate to leave now to get into the Brazil squad.
Chelsea are lurking in the background and have a history of using their wallet to steal deals. They’ve just sold Ramires for a staggering £25m and haven’t spent anything this month. On average during a season with 2 separate managers, Chelsea still manage to spend roughly £18m every January. Chelsea are currently in their worst league position for years, desperate for a spark and have plenty of money to spend. Abromovich trusts Hiddink & Emenalo so if they want the player, they’ll certainly conclude a deal.
As I have repeatedly stated since 2012, improving our defense should be our biggest concern. We have almost completely ignored it and the few signings we have made towards our problems have flopped. Our staggeringly awful set-pieces will leak far more goals than we can score with Mignolet achieving record highs for conceding first shots on target and shots on target. The fact that our defenders can man mark 4 players on Fellaini and still manage to let him win the header and assist a goal certainly speaks volumes as well. In my opinion Liverpool’s worst areas (worst to least) are: Goalkeeping & Physio staff, Goalkeepers, Defenders, Wages, Set-piece takers, Strikers, Wingers, and defensive midfielders. All will probably go largely unattended to until summer but when we do begin to invest I hope we have finally learned our lesson on “big man” strikers who clearly don’t fit our style of play and the myth of ‘proven’ domestic players.
On a slightly more positive note, here’s some factors worth acknowledging:
- Half of the season still to go
- 8pts off top 4 isn’t ideal but achievable in the remaining games
- 3 chances at silverware
- £210m & Champions League to play for
- Just under a week left in the window
End of the day, there’s still a multitude of options and factors that can happen. It’s all up to the club and what they think is best, but I personally wholeheartedly support a move for Teixeira at his current valuation. He is one major leap in the right direction for the future of Liverpool.
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