Liverpool journalist explains external factor which aided Reds in snapping up Dominik Szoboszlai

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Neil Jones has explained how Newcastle’s signing of Sandro Tonali left Liverpool with a clear run to complete a deal for Dominik Szoboszlai.

The Magpies had already been linked with the Hungarian (as per Liverpool Echo) until the Reds paid his £60m release clause from RB Leipzig (Fabrizio Romano) to win the race for the 22-year-old, although the Tyneside club today confirmed the capture of the Italy midfielder from AC Milan for £55m (Sky Sports).

The journalist outlined how Eddie Howe’s side need to ensure they remain within Financial Fair Play (FFP) parameters and duly won’t overspend this summer, a scenario which has had a beneficial knock-on effect for the Merseysiders.

Speaking exclusively with Empire of the Kop’s Substack, Jones said: “You look at what other clubs are after. Newcastle are in this position where they’re trying to bridge that gap. They’ve probably gone a year early into the Champions League in terms of what they expected.

“Now they’re suddenly having to find players not only to play in the Champions League and conduct a Premier League campaign and hopefully stay in the top four, but they’re also having to work within parameters like Financial Fair Play and making sure they don’t go wild and spend £300m in a window only to find themselves in trouble in the years to come. A bit like Chelsea could have done.

“They’ve settled on a midfielder in Sandro Tonali from AC Milan. They were linked quite heavily with Nicolo Barella from Inter Milan but they’ve settled on Tonali. I think if there was a deal to be done for someone like Szoboszlai or James Maddison for the £30-40m mark, I think there would have been more resistance for Liverpool to overcome. But the fact that he got up towards £60m…

“I spoke to a couple of Liverpool transfer sources, if you want to call them that, and they were saying that once Newcastle committed to Tonali, it’s clear that they weren’t going to do another £60-70m player, so that ruled out Szoboszlai.

“They weren’t going to do two huge midfield signings when they’ve already got Bruno Guimaraes, they’ve already got Joelinton, they’ve still got Sean Longstaff, people like that.

“I think that left the way clear. I think probably earlier in the summer, if the Tonali move hadn’t materialised, there would have been a fear that Szoboszlai would have been the one that they would have gone for. But once they pivoted and settled on someone else, it ruled them out.”

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Even though Liverpool had themselves been interested in Tonali (The Athletic), ultimately both they and Newcastle will be quite pleased with their respective recent acquisitions.

The Magpies opted for a defensive midfield warrior with the experience of 130 Serie A games, while the Reds added a sharp-shooting playmaker with 62 senior club career goals before his 23rd birthday (Transfermarkt).

It’s interesting to note the Chelsea comparison, with the Blues spending vast sums of money in the previous two transfer windows ( but only having a 12th-placed Premier League finish to show for it.

By contrast, Newcastle and Liverpool appear to be doing business more sensibly, topping up their squads piece by piece to try and improve on their respective finishing positions of fourth and fifth rather than frivolously throwing money around and risking FFP implications.

Even though the Reds had Tonali in their sights, they’ll probably be content that the Magpies’ acquisition of the Italian left them with a free run at Szoboszlai, a capture which – as Jones outlined – has prompted plenty of excitement among Kopites.

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