In a world in which supporters indirectly handed over £220million last year to agents, it’s become difficult to truly grasp the money washing around football at present.
Each passing year, the numbers become increasingly exorbitant, prices increase, and what seemed outrageous one month is met with a blasé response the next.
But when it recently emerged Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will be handed a transfer kitty in the region of £100m, there was genuine excitement among Reds fans.
Even to Mino Raiola, that’s a fair whack.
Shopping lists were swiftly being drawn up by the Anfield faithful, YouTube being scoured, scouting reports being run on Football Manager.
However, anyone who thinks Liverpool are going to spend £100m this summer is almost certain to be fooled.
It will be a lot, lot more than that.
Consider what £100m gets you these days. Three Sadio Manes for a start, although given the rate of inflation in the market since his arrival last summer, that will now be nearer two.
Liverpool, though, don’t just need the starting XI strengthening. The squad sorely lacks depth, not least in key positions.
Suddenly, that £100m doesn’t look all that much. Not least when you consider comparative rivals Manchester United spent almost that entire amount on one player last year.
Two £40m signings and a £20m capture sounds decent work but it’s nowhere near enough taking into account those seeking pastures new at the end of the season.
Mamadou Sakho, Alberto Moreno, Daniel Sturridge, Lazar Markovic, Lucas Leiva and Kevin Stewart are likely to go, and replacements to at least match their standard won’t come cheap.
Here’s where it becomes interesting.
Liverpool have improved as a selling club, and are likely to drive hard bargains for most departures.
They are asking £30m for Sakho. Sturridge, you’d imagine, would attract around £20m. Markovic £15m. Moreno likewise, at a push.
There’s an extra £80m. With other fringe players and youngsters, it could be nearer £100m.
Fenway Sports Group balanced the books in this manner last summer, but they’re learning the hard way to make hay in the Premier League, you must speculate to accumulate.
Then there’s the question of what happens if Liverpool don’t qualify for the Champions League.
They’ll not have access to the competition’s bumper prize pot and, as a result of not being among Europe’s elite, the players required to break into the top four will come at an increased premium.
And even if Klopp’s side do reach their desired target, the incoming standard will jump up an extra notch to ensure the Reds don’t embarrass themselves as they did when last in the Champions League in 2014.
That can’t happen again this time around.
Yes, Klopp will be probably be handed a £100m purse in the coming transfer window.
But his overall spend will be nearer double that. It has to be.
Source: Liverpool ECHO