The official exit of four Liverpool stars has left plenty of room to manoeuvre on the wage bill that is set to add Dominik Szoboszlai alongside Alexis Mac Allister
The beginning of July 1 marked the official departure of four players who lived the long goodbye at Liverpool.
It was known for some time prior to the club’s official announcement on May 17 that James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would be leaving Anfield at the end of last season.
That confirmation came over two months after it was revealed that Roberto Firmino would be ending his own eight years of decorated association with Liverpool and it was an emotional day for those inside Anfield on Saturday May 20 when all four were given classy send-offs by the club.
All four players played important parts at one time or another for a squad who between the years of 2019 and 2022 won every top-level trophy there was to win.
Many have championed Milner’s cause as the greatest ever free transfer at Anfield while the flamboyant Firmino departs as a bonafide legend for his contributions over the years.
No player featured more for Klopp across a managerial career that surpassed the 1000-game mark earlier this year and Milner, as vice captain, was also critical to the success enjoyed.
Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain’s efforts were not quite as pronounced but both still played sizable roles in helping the club during a period where they won the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup and a first-ever Club World Cup in 2019. Add in the Community Shield and UEFA Super Cup and the Reds completed the set with all four along for the ride.
Alexis Mac Allister has already been added to the roster after his £35m switch from Brighton & Hove Albion was confirmed in early June, while Dominik Szoboszlai will be next through the revolving door of the AXA Training Centre as he gets set for his medical ahead of a £60m move from RB Leipzig.
And while the exits of Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Firmino and Milner has left the squad in need of replenishment from a numbers perspective, their exit has freed up some room to manoeuvre where the bloated wage bill is concerned.
Liverpool current spending on wages tips the scales at a whopping £366m, according to the accounts for the 2022 financial year. Such a figure means the wage bill has rocketed by nearly 77% since they last played a season without Champions League football, back in 2016/17.
The exits of all four players – and the return of Arthur Melo back to Juventus after his unsuccessful loan spell – means there is a healthy figure being saved as a result.
Accurate wage details for Premier League footballers are hard to come by for obvious reasons, but the respected website Capology shows Liverpool will be making a save of around £480,000 a week now Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Milner and Firmino have departed.
It’s unclear how much of Arthur’s salary Liverpool were paying during his ill-fated spell, but Capology estimates the Brazilian to be earning around £52,000 a week on his Juventus contract.
Theoretically then, it’s fair to estimate that Liverpool are saving over £500,000 a week now all five players have been removed from the wage bill, which are funds that could – and should – be reintroduced into a squad in need of further rebuilding.
Liverpool’s general policy is to sign players to contracts that allow room for growth both from a sporting and a financial perspective. If a player performs as is hoped then further rewards are handed out in the form of improved terms, which is something that can be highlighted by Diogo Jota’s 2022 deal following his initial move in 2020.
Going back further and Mohamed Salah, who is now on his third contract at Liverpool – and is currently the highest-paid player of all time at Anfield – was granted a better basic pay packet in 2018 after a spellbinding first year on Merseyside when he scored 44 goals.
‘Reasonable and responsible’ is the general club mantra for new arrivals when it comes to salaries and allowing room for further remuneration through performance is deemed to be an ideal incentive to help stave off complacency for those making the move to Anfield.
Trent Alexander-Arnold could be in line to benefit further from such a system should the club look to renegotiate the terms of the 24-year-old’s contract as he enters the final two years of a deal inked in the summer of 2021.
It’s perhaps fair to reflect that Thiago Alcantatra’s level of experience and profile made him something of an exception to that rule when he joined in September 2020, but generally, it’s something the club try to stick to as rigidly as possible, just like they did with the recent additions of Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo.
And that’s why Mac Allister and Szoboszlai won’t immediately approach the top earners like Salah, Thiago and Virgil van Dijk. However, the carrot hangs a lot for them as they now look set to become Liverpool stars.
What happens to the rest of the wage savings will make this summer transfer window a fascinating sight.