🔴EOTK Insider Opinion: Ben Davies' wages and why he is the blueprint of how Liverpool don't do transfer business 💼🤝
The same wages as Tsimikas and Origi, paid more than Diaz - Ben Davies is the reason we don't rush into transfers
It’s very important to stress that this article isn’t in any way a slight at Ben Davies as a footballer, nor even the decision for Liverpool to sign him in 2021.
Jurgen Klopp was in the midst of a centre-back injury crisis and decided to turn to the Championship and Preston North End, to end the woes he had been dealing with.
On the 1st of February, the signing of the now 26-year-old was announced and he made the bold claim that:
“I want to come in and play games to start with, I want to get my foot in the door and make myself a Premier League player rather than obviously a Championship player. And then take it from there really”.
There was no reason for him not to believe that would be the case either, especially given the injury issues with Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson at the time.
The boss was able to call upon Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams, whilst also deciding to loan in Ozan Kabak from Schalke, but all three of these options seemed less desirable than the man with six years experience in England’s second tier.
Despite a low transfer fee for the centre-back, believed to be an initial fee of £500,000 plus £1.1 million in performance-related add-ons, there was also an agreement for fellow defender Sepp van den Berg to head the opposite way to Deepdale as a sweetener (and price decreaser) in the deal.
Seeing as the Barrow-in-Furness-born defender has only turned out once for the Reds, during a pre-season friendly against Osasuna last year, it’s fair to assume that those add-ons haven’t been met yet.
Jurgen Klopp, Michael Edwards and Julian Ward don’t make rash transfer decisions. That is part of the reason why our recruitment has been so sound since 2015 and why we have very rarely been ripped off or proven wrong, on a transfer decision in or out of the club.
When faced with a defensive crisis we had to act rashly and make a decision that was based on a lot less research than many deals that had gone before.
In the case of Ben Davies, the recruitment team could have so easily attempted to go and sign a big name defender to ensure a quick fix to our defensive issues but chose not to.
Instead, we took a relatively safe bet for a low fee and the worrying yet rewarding issue is - it still didn’t work.
The market knew we needed a defender and that meant every centre-back talking to Liverpool would ask for more money and so would the club who owned them.
Although the fee was low for our No.28, his wages show that even he (or much more likely his agent) was wise to the fact that they could milk more money from our club.
In fact, as reported by LFC Globe, he managed to negotiate a deal that saw the former Tranmere Rovers loanee earn more money than Luis Diaz, Adrian, Neco Williams, Caoimhin Kelleher, Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott. He also earned the same wages as Kostas Tsimikas, Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi.
Again, this is not the fault of the former Preston North End man, nor even probably his agent for spotting an opportunity for more money for their client (and themselves), but does shows the risk of rushing into a transfer decision.
This was a very unique position for the club to be in. The fact we tied down a defender on a five-year deal and that he earns more money than Luis Diaz but still hasn’t made his debut for the club, highlights a huge problem.
We may now be stuck (again apologies to Ben, this isn’t an attack on him) with the 26-year-old until 2026 and he could be in a position where he has made over £14 million in wages, because of a desperate transfer.
Fortunately, this is not how we normally operate and will be something that the club is very eager not to do again.
If we had signed a marquee defender on colossal wages and they hadn’t worked out, the club would be in a much worse position.
Look at Mezut Ozil at Arsenal, Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez (insert many more names here) at Manchester United and even Jack Rodwell at Sunderland. One or two of these disastrous signings, leading to players on wages they don’t deserve (sorry Ben, again not talking about you) who then hang around to cash in on a pay day - can kill a club.
Liverpool don’t operate like this. We don’t break our wage structure, we don’t pay over the odds and we don’t sign Ben Davies from Preston North End for £60,000 per week.
The player has done nothing wrong but his salary alone shows why we are so successful in the transfer window and why the club is challenging on four fronts for trophies.
Ben Davies is the warning for Liverpool about how not to operate but thanks to our owners and recruiters, it’s a mistake we are likely to not make again.
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