Liverpool could be about to find themselves under new ownership as rumours swirl that John W. Henry is ‘quietly’ seeking a buyer for the club.
John W. Henry, who is most famous among Arsenal fans for his ‘what are they smoking?’ comment when Arsenal bid £40m + £1 for Luis Suarez (read on for more on this), is reportedly mulling over a sale.
Football finance expert, Kieran Maguire, believes that Arsenal’s recent share sale that saw the club valued at £1.8bn means Liverpool should be worth a lot more given their ‘history and heritage’.
“FSG see a lot more growth in the club,” Maguire said to the Liverpool Echo. “In their masterplan, they’ll believe in four to five years Liverpool will be worth closer to £3bn.
“The most recent Premier League takeover deal that went through was at Arsenal where Stan Kroenke bought out Alisher Usmanov. That valued Arsenal at around £1.8bn.
“While Arsenal have historically been able to generate more money from matchday revenue as they have a bigger stadium, Liverpool have taken steps to bridge that gap and are by far the more popular with sponsors and commercial partners because they have the history and heritage which appeals to an overseas fanbase.
“If Arsenal are worth £1.8bn then Liverpool are worth at least £2bn. And if they continue to succeed on the field then they could easily add another £500m in the next few years.
“From an FSG point of view, it would be daft to sell for £2bn.”
What are they smoking at Anfield?
On a side note, I feel it is my duty to mention that John W. Henry actually admitted that there WAS a clause in Luis Suarez’s contract that should have been triggered when a Champions League club, which Arsenal were at the time, made an offer over £40m.
That’s why Arsenal bid £40m + £1 – to trigger the clause allowing them to speak to Suarez.
This, of course, was hardly reported in the media – but it was reported.
“He had a buyout clause of £40m. Arsenal, one of our prime rivals, offered £40m plus £1,” said the American in 2014. A buyout clause.
That couldn’t be clearer.
So why didn’t Liverpool accept Arsenal’s bid?
“What we’ve found … is that contracts don’t seem to mean a lot in England – actually, in world football,” Henry added.
“It doesn’t matter how long a player’s contract is, he can decide he’s leaving. We sold a player, Fernando Torres, for £50m, 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.”
Repeat after me: this was NOT Arsenal’s fault. The club submitted a bid that Liverpool were obliged to accept and they didn’t, just as John Henry admitted.
So why didn’t Arsenal sue Liverpool if Liverpool ignored the contract clause?
Liverpool wronged Luis Suárez, not Arsenal. The contract was between the club and the player, not the two clubs. As the Reds refused to sell, Suárez would’ve been able to sue them but he opted not to, he stayed, and almost won the league.
Jamie Carragher was one of a number of people who wrote about this whole situation and criticised Arsenal, suggesting they should have offered £50m, you know, like when you’re buying a car and the price is £15k and you offer £20k instead just to be sure.
@LGAmbrose @DailyCannon You say why pay 45/50? When you have a huge war chest & you lose a player like that for a joke bid, that's why.
— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) April 24, 2016
I hope it’s all a little clearer for them now, and for everyone else who uses the whole thing as another stick to beat Arsenal with.
You never know, select wisely and you might even come across as insightful!