Liverpool exploring possibility of formal partnership with Spanish club

According to reports in Spain, Liverpool have held meetings with LaLiga side Elche regarding a possible formal partnership between the two clubs.

In recent years, Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group have explored a number of avenues to expand their portfolio and investment into the club without selling their majority stake.

There has been an investment of around £533 million into FSG themselves from RedBird Capital Partners, with NBA icon LeBron James and his business associate Maverick Carter among those listed as partners.

RedBird have moved to acquire other clubs, with the purchase of Ligue 2 side Toulouse followed by a stake in Segunda Division outfit Malaga.

This would only indirectly impact Liverpool, and largely at boardroom level, but the latest development could see a shift in emphasis in terms of recruitment, too.

According to Spanish outlet AS, the Reds’ owners recently met with Christian Bragarnik, majority shareholder of Spanish club Elche, to discuss a “collaboration.”

It is claimed that Liverpool representatives previously visited the Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero in Elche to assess their facilities and negotiate a proposal from the Argentinian businessman.

Bragarnik is said to be looking to “establish a link” between the two clubs in order to bring in players who could help his side.

LEEDS, ENGLAND - Monday, February 7, 2022: Liverpool's Kaide Gordon during the Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Leeds FC Under-23's and Liverpool FC Under-23's at Elland Road. Leeds United won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

That would likely be in the form of loan deals, namely for Liverpool’s high-potential youngsters, which would suggest the terms discussed would be a feeder club setup similar to that seen with Chelsea and Vitesse Arnhem.

It is added that any agreement could “establish a projection channel for interesting players who may acquire value in the market.”

Though the translation is, of course, open to interpretation, that could possibly see Liverpool send players who are at least initially unable to qualify for a UK work permit to Elche to gain the requisite experience and boost their value.

In recent years, Liverpool have seen Allan Rodrigues, Taiwo Awoniyi and Anderson Arroyo join without being eligible to work in the UK, going on to take in various loan spells before, in Allan and Awoniyi’s case already, being sold for a profit.

KAA Gent's new player Anderson Arroyo Cordoba pictured in action during a training session of Belgian soccer team KAA Gent, during the 2018-2019 Jupiler Pro League season, Friday 07 September 2018, in Gent. BELGA PHOTO JASPER JACOBS

Arroyo, the 22-year-old Colombian centre-back who is into his fifth loan deal – this time at Mirandes in Spain – will almost certainly follow suit in the summer.

Another typical benefit of a feeder club would be the potential for first refusal on players on their way out of Elche, though that would remain hypothetical at this stage.

There is no suggestion of any concrete development in the meeting between Bragarnik and FSG, but it is certainly interesting that the Liverpool owners are supposedly weighing up the possibility of a formal partnership.