Football finance expert Kieran Maguire explained to the Liverpool Echo that the financial implications of COVID-19 has left Real Madrid and Barcelona in a difficult position.
A reliance on matchday income in La Liga means that plans to bid for Mo Salah – a move the Spanish powerhouses have reportedly been planning for the summer – will likely have to be put on hold.
“Liverpool’s wage bill in 2016 was £166m, in 2019 it was £310m. Liverpool are now in a position to resist being bought out in terms of their players by clubs of the calibre of Real Madrid and Barcelona coming in and saying they can offer a far enhanced pay packet,” the University of Liverpool lecturer told the Echo. “The advantage Liverpool now have is that they can compete with those clubs financially, and that is on the back of success that has come on the field and also commercially in the past few years.”
“They (Madrid and Barcelona) are more dependent on match day income than Liverpool. Liverpool’s match day income is about 15/16 per cent of total, for Real Madrid and Barcelona they are more reliant upon than and that percentage is greater,” Maguire said. “Spanish clubs have been hit relatively harder than Premier League clubs and it is going to make it relatively more difficult to poach players and pay the big wages.”
Though this doesn’t necessarily mean an end to either side’s capacity for big money moves in the future, Liverpool’s much-improved finances mean that they can more readily hold on to their stars.
Of course, there’s nothing to stop the La Liga outfits from merely selling all their deadwood to clear the wage bill and build some funds towards one big signing.
That being said, even should Madrid or Barca manage to find the resources to make a respectable bid, there’s been no clear sign from Salah’s camp indicating a desire to leave.
The rare interview he offered AS in December clarified that the Egyptian’s future at Anfield was “in the club’s hands” – if anything, a signal from the No.11 of the need for updated terms with his current employers.
Given that the Liverpool hierarchy are reportedly focusing on extending Fabinho and Van Dijk’s contracts first – a move we wouldn’t have personally advised – there appears to be little worry on the club’s side of the 28-year-old leaving any time soon.