We saw FSG flex their muscles this summer when they refused to bow to pressure and sell want-away striker Luis Suarez and recent comments from Liverpool principal owner John W. Henry has shed a little more light on the subject.
The Uruguayan was taking a hard line through the press trying to force a move first to Spanish giants Real Madrid, and then to Arsenal when the North London side lodged a number of bids — including the infamous £40mil + £1 offer — in an attempt to trigger a clause in the striker’s contract. The American took a hard line with the bid and refused to discuss it at all, telling Suarez that he had a contract and would not be sold to anyone at any price.
“He had a buyout clause of £40mil” Henry told the Sloan Sports Analytics conference in America. “They offered £40m plus £1. What we’ve found … is that contracts don’t seem to mean a lot in England – actually, in world football. It doesn’t matter how long a player’s contract is, he can decide he’s leaving.”
After carefully gauging a number of different factors — including what the backlash from the fans would be like should Suarez be sold — FSG decided to stand firm; if players didn’t need to honour their contracts, they didn’t either. “We sold a player, Fernando Torres, for £50mil, that we did not want to sell, we were forced to. Since apparently these contracts don’t seem to hold, we took the position that we’re just not selling.”
The hard line has certainly paid off; Suarez is not only top scorer in England, but also in Europe and the Reds are chasing the Premier League title and Champions League qualification for the first time since 2009. Liverpool have also tied the Uruguayan down to a new, and very lucrative, long term deal.
Now, that’s a good piece of business…