The decision to loan Pepe Reina to Napoli, coupled with the reported potential loan move of Martin Skrtel to the Italian side, has been met with criticism from some sections of the Liverpool support.
The truth is though, that Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group are applying financial sense by offloading high-earning players whose place within the squad is not proportionate to their salary.
Martin Skrtel is on a reported £70,000 per week, yet he is not considered a starting player under Brendan Rodgers. The club would have been happy to sell the Slovakian this summer had the right offer arrived. So far it hasn’t, and thus they are happy to remove his wages and therefore free up a place within the squad. You can’t simply keep a player on 70 grand a week just to make up numbers – especially when you aren’t in Europe.
Similarly, Reina was on a reported £100,000 per week wage. Once the decision to sign Simon Mignolet – whether you agree with it or not – was made, it would have been absurd to pay a reserve keeper that amount – one of the highest earners at the club.
Another player to have left the club this summer, although under entirely different circumstances, is Jamie Carragher. The legendary defender was on a similar wage to Reina.
That’s over a quarter of a million pounds removed from the weekly wage bill already.
It was reported early on after their acquisition of the club that FSG were shocked by the size of Liverpool’s wage bill, especially players on vast wages who were not key members of the squad.
What Liverpool want now is for a player’s wages to match his worth within the squad. That’s why tough decisions must be made.
Take Stewart Downing, reportedly on £70,000 per week but despite an improved second half of last season, not viewed as a key player and could be even less so this season after new arrivals. If the right bid arrived, it would make sense to sell him.
Another high value departure this summer has been Andy Carroll, on a reported £85,000 per week.
Add in the sale of Jonjo Shelvey, imminent departures of Ousamma Assaidi and Jay Spearing and you have a total of all those who have left the club this summer of around half a million pounds per week. Over £20m per year.
This follows on from last year were high-earners Alberto Aquilani (£90k), Joe Cole (£90k), Dirk Kuyt (£70k), Maxi (£70k), Craig Bellamy (£70K) and Charlie Adam (£50k) have also left the club. Add that together and the total amount saved per week following departures in the last year is closer to one million pounds.
Of course, Liverpool have signed players during this time and given improved contracts to key players such as Luis Suarez, Daniel Agger and Steven Gerrard. The point is that those three are on contracts that are in accordance with their place within the squad.
The Reds have dropped from 18th to 21st in a table for pro sports club wages across the world.
Next time you hear somebody moaning about loaning out Martin Skrtel, a player who started FOUR Premier League games since the turn of the year, think of the bigger picture.
Remember what owner John Henry wrote in his open letter to the fans almost a year ago:
We will build and grow from within, buy prudently and cleverly and never again waste resources on inflated transfer fees and unrealistic wages. We have no fear of spending and competing with the very best but we will not overpay for players.
We will never place this club in the precarious position that we found it in when we took over at Anfield. This club should never again run up debts that threaten its existence.
Liverpool are building sensibly and economically. It takes patience and perspective to see this – which is often in short supply among some supporters.