Liverpool settle £5m Rodgers compensation
Liverpool have demonstrated the value they attach to securing Brendan Rodgers' services by settling his £5m in compensation in full with Swansea City, ahead of his anticipated presentation at Anfield today as the new manager of the club.
The total compensation payable to Swansea may be more than £5.5m, including the sums being paid to enable Rodgers to bring three of his backroom staff, first-team coach Colin Pascoe, match-analyst Chris Davies and conditioning expert Glen Driscoll, with him to Merseyside. The sum is a significant one, considering that Liverpool already face a testing time complying with Uefa's Financial Fair Play regime. New projections from the financialfairplay.co.uk website suggest the club may sustain an aggregate loss of around £42.7m for the first monitoring period of FFP – with the permitted loss being £36m. The projections illustrate how Rodgers may have to operate within restrictions at his new club.
The new figures assume that the club will not make a profit on player sales next season and to meet FFP tests, it is estimated that new purchases will need to be largely funded by player sales above their current book value. That would mean a substantial summer of selling if the estimated £30m to be put at Rodgers' disposal will actually materialise. The club's owner, Fenway Sports Group, has been an ardent advocate of FFP, which it sees as a way of levelling the playing field for clubs.
Liverpool's position in relation to FFP was not enhanced by former director of football Damien Comolli giving a number of new contracts to players who had been on pre-June 2010 deals. Salaries paid out in contracts signed before June 2010 can be excluded from the club's outgoings for FFP purposes, though the new deals mean the club can exclude only around £16.9m in this way. Manchester City can exclude around £53m in wages for long-standing players from their cost base for FPP purposes.
Pascoe's arrival appears to remove the possibility of Steve Clarke, assistant to Kenny Dalglish, remaining at Anfield – despite Fenway having rejected his resignation. Louis van Gaal's prospects of joining Liverpool are also extinguished, though Rodgers will be asked to work with a new tier of football management, including an administrator and a chief scout who will collectively replace Comolli.
Gylfi Sigurdsson is scheduled to meet Swansea officials today to discuss personal terms, with Hoffenheim and the South Wales club having agreed a club record £6.8m deal for the player. Rodgers may now attempt to hijack that deal for a player whom Sir Alex Ferguson has watched, though there is a degree of confidence at the Liberty Stadium that Sigurdsson wants to play regular first-team football and that Rodgers' departure will not necessarily scupper the move. Swansea, who feel there is an agreement in principle on personal terms, will seek to show the Icelandic attacking midfielder that they retain ambition to build on their first season in the Premier League.
For Swansea, the loss of Pascoe is a blow, who has worked under three managers at the club. With match-analyst Davies, Rodgers has taken a particularly key component of his successful formula from the Liberty Stadium and has attached huge value to his work. But the Swansea exodus is not considered as severe as when Roberto Martinez left in 2009 for Wigan Athletic, taking the club physio and sports scientist with him, as well as Kevin Reeves and assistant manager Graeme Jones.
Jones, who is still Martinez's No 2 at Wigan Athletic and highly regarded by Swansea's players, was bookmakers' favourite to replace Rodgers last night – a move which would reflect chairman Huw Jenkins's desire to maintain the same playing culture.