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Most important FSG summer deal becomes clear as Liverpool has $151m Man City gap


Most important FSG summer deal becomes clear as Liverpool has $151m Man City gap

Figures show that FSG ranks second from bottom in one Premier League table, and it potentially raises some concerns around the summer rebuild at Liverpool.

This feels like a critical summer for the reputation of Liverpool’s owner Fenway Sports Group.

It’s hard to gauge, of course, but you get the sense that, if FSG sold the club right now, its tenure would be viewed positively for the most part.

Yes, it has made some profound mistakes, most notably its leading role in the ill-fated Super League project, but that has been overshadowed by the on-field success Liverpool has enjoyed since FSG captured Jürgen Klopp back in 2015.

The German has delivered the club’s first Premier League title after a 30-year wait, made the Reds champions of Europe for the sixth time, and won four more major trophies too. Bringing him to Anfield is John Henry’s crowning achievement.

In addition, the regime has invested heavily in improving the club’s infrastructure, adding more than 15,000 to the stadium’s capacity by expanding the Main Stand and Anfield Road and constructing an entirely new training ground.

Now, though, frustration is building in some quarters, with a sense that FSG’s under-investment (Liverpool sits in mid-table for net spend during the Klopp years) is at risk of squandering the potential of a legendary core and one of the best managers the club has ever had.

The club has fallen out of the Champions League for the first time since 2016 and that could have been avoided.

If Liverpool doesn’t return to its peak and win more of the biggest prizes in his remaining years, then there will be a prevailing question of what might have been — though there is plenty of hope for dramatic improvement next season.

The challenge this summer is to prove that Reds will be right back in the hunt after a difficult period. The hope is that Liverpool can produce a transformative transfer window, much as it did in 2018, to catapult itself back to the top.

It’s worth remembering though, that the club’s total spend of $292m (£228m/€267m) that year was fueled in large part by the sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona, part of a $202m (£158m/€185m) January influx.

Even the highest spend in the club’s history came within the constraints of FSG’s self-sustaining model. And figures recently published by The Athletic show how limiting those principles can be.

Liverpool, as it turns out, ranks down in 19th in the Premier League for ‘net owner funding’ over the last five years, at minus $47m (£37m/€43m). Manchester City, which has won four of the last five titles, sits a full $151m ahead, with its very different model.

Many would argue that this is a big part of the reason Liverpool is in its current position, 22 points back from the treble winner in the final table.

But to look ahead, the real concern is that this approach seems at odds with the team’s current transfer needs, particularly as revenues will have fallen with an early Champions League exit and then Europa League qualification.

Liverpool ideally needs the kind of external cash injection that hasn’t been forthcoming in recent years, with two more midfielders and a defender required following the signing of Alexis Mac Allister.

The club may still be able to tick those boxes without help from FSG, but will those players be of the right caliber to restore Liverpool’s title credentials? That is the big question that is yet to be answered.

The Daily Mail’s Alex Miller recently reported that Henry and co. are expected to finalize a deal with an investor during the summer, and the aforementioned figures lay bare the necessity of this move to help bridge the gap. It could be the most important deal struck in the coming months as other clubs around Liverpool continue to spend with no signs of slowing.

Most important FSG summer deal becomes clear as Liverpool has $151m Man City gap

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