18 Oct 2010

Debunking Liverpool FC myths: No 8 – Top 10 transfer fee myths/inaccuracies

Given the confidential nature of player contracts, real transfer fee levels are rarely released into the public domain. This leads to guesswork and supposition on a grand scale, which leads to lots of inaccurate figures floating around. Here are the some of the glaring inaccuracies currently accepted as gospel.

The incorrect figures quoted here have been compiled from several LFC sites, (including LFCHistory.net). The correct figures come from the club's official accounts, which can be purchased online.


MYTH 1: Xabi Alonso (£10.7m), Luis Garcia (£6m) + Antonio Nunez (£1.5m) bought for £18.2m

Reality: Combined cost = £13m.

More: The REAL cost of Xabi Alonso and Luis Garcia

MYTH 2: Xabi Alonso sold for £30m
Reality: Sale fee = £24.3m (£29.7m minus fees for Voronin + Dossena)

More: The truth about Xabi Alonso's alleged 30m transfer fee

MYTH 3: Jan Kromkamp was free as part of a player exchange with Josemi
Reality: Kromkamp cost £4.3m.

More: The REAL cost of Jan Kromkamp's transfer to Liverpool

MYTH 4: Alberto Aquilani's fee is to be paid in installments.
Reality: The full amount has already been paid.

It's true that Roma posted a breakdown on their website of how Aquilani's fee was to be paid in installments. However, as the accounts clearly show, that arrangement changed at some point and the full fee was paid up front.

MYTH 5: Gabriel Paletta was sold for £1.2m.

Reality: Actually sold for £500k *but* the club made a £1.5m loss on the sale as a result of a £2m impairment charge.

MYTH 6: Albert Riera cost £8m
Reality: He cost less than £7m

MYTH 7: Liverpool sold Robbie Keane for £16m
Reality: The club made an £8m loss (at least)

MYTH 8: Andrea Dossena sold for £4.7m
Reality: Actual sale fee was 4.2m Euros, which is £3.5m (approx)

LFC.tv is owned by Liverpool FC, and its figures come directly from those in the know at the club. It is obviously a trustworthy source.

MYTH 9: Dirk Kuyt cost £9m
Reality: He cost £10m

MYTH 10: Patrice Luzi was a free transfer
Reality: He cost a couple of million (approx)

Most sites report Salif Diao's transfer fee as anywhere between £4.5-£5m (LFChistory has it at £4.7m). If those figures are correct, then Luzi cost between £1-£2m.

MYTH 11: Kirkland, Traore, Barragan, Mellor and Kromkamp were sold for a combined £8.4m.

Reality: The Club received a pitiful £4.5m for the lot, ahich represents quite a significant loss on the original combined outlay.


1. According to Deloitte, under accounting requirements, the cost of acquiring a player’s registration includes:

* The transfer fee payable

* Any probable contingent amounts (i.e. Fees that may become payable/receivable in the future depending on certain conditions being fulfilled)

* Other direct costs such as transfer fee levy and fees to agents.

The club's accounting policies adhere to these guidelines.

2. Acquiring a player's registration = paying money to buy a player.

3. Signing-on fees are not included in the transfer fee figure. They are accounted for entirely separately (Evidence HERE)

4. Some items are on post balance sheet events because they took place after the accounting period deadline of 31 July. Thus, they will not be on the balance sheet. This is standard practice, and doesn't make any difference to the validity of the figures.

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. Please abide by the comment policy. Snide/derogatory comments will be deleted.  If you don't like the articles on this site, don't read them, and don't come here. Simple :)

  2. Nice to see some truth with regards to the player transfers, always had a gut feeling the fees quoted were way off in terms of the sales. More evidence from the looks of things that LFC have been poorly managed for far too long. 

  3. Fancy debunking hicks myth that he spent 300mil on players?

  4. And how much of that money was possibly pocketed by Rafa? Only a gut feeling mind!

  5. Absolutely - I will be doing that later this week.

  6. I remember how fun it was to argue about transfer fees, fact is it no longer matters now that Hodgson is in charge, we'll be crap no matter how much we spend, some nice figures there anyway

  7. During H and Gs reign i believe there was only about 28 million spent in fees all up that should put stupid Ferguson back in his seat.

  8. What about the consensus being spread that we have made a net profit in last 4 transfer windows?

    Logic dictates that this would lead to a deterioration in quality of squad

  9. I agree there is some excellent research here and it's great to see these figures published.  At the risk of sparking a debate which has been had many times on here, do you not think with the sales of Alonso ans Keane in particular that the wording in the documents, 'guaranteed' fees could quite possibly meant the minimum fee paid upfront or over installments, but would still allow for a larger fee if certain requirements are met (i.e. title wins, appearances and CL qualification).  To me, i think that is very possible bgecause those things are not guaranteed and would therefore not be included in the a/c's until they were actually met.  Just a thought.........

  10. alan, sorry jamie how did you enjoy interviewing mr hicks ?

  11. Keep up the good work, Jaimie!

  12. I can't believe that teh club "official accounts" would say things like "approximately £6,500,000" or "approximately £13,000,000". Surely they would have the exact figures, wouldn't they?

    Also, "guaranteed" fee is different from what the final fee would be. Wouldn't these 'official accounts' not mention potential future earnings too? I mean, if they do their subtraction column using "approximate" amounts, wouldn't they do their addition column with "potential" earnings too??

  13. Good work looking into them.
    Although it pains me to know Aquilani was moved on!
    Given time, he could easily have justified that fee.
    His goal at the weekend for Juve was superb.

  14. jamie can you ive us a breakdown on the new stadium expenditure 35 million 50 million ? and not a od has been turned.

  15. amazing a £20 million clockwork mouse finally gets a goal, buying him is the main reason we are in the mess we re in rafa should have bought a top fit striker, for aquilani read babel.

  16. You having a meeting with any NESV reps Jamie..?

    Spirit Of Shankly, the Liverpool Supporters Union, accepted an invitation to today meet with NESV representatives John W Henry and Tom Werner.
    It was an informal meeting, to allow us to discuss with them the issues we as a Union deal with, and the issues supporters have faced in the past three years. The meeting gave us encouragement that we as supporters will be listened to, and that the new owners recognise the task ahead.
    Supporters have worked tirelessly to ensure our concerns are listened to, and that our voice is heard. John W Henry himself said "If it wasn't for yourselves and supporters doing what you have, we wouldn't be here now." It is important that supporters are recognised and we hope that this is the beginning of an ongoing, positive relationship, that allows us all - supporters, players, manager, the board and the owners - to be pulling in the same direction that allows our football club to succeed and prosper on and off the pitch. We look forward to future dialogue.

  17. Jaime, you've done all this before. I don't get the point of it.... AGAIN? Its not really important! 

  18. On another note, whats your opinions on NESV meeting SOS Jaimie?

  19. The Roy Hodgson Brigade6:01 pm, October 18, 2010

    Yeah Henry had to face those who crucified one of the men (Purslow) who welcomed Henry to the club. Wonder what Henry was thinking when he had a chat with Purslow about this?

  20. The Roy Hodgson Brigade6:06 pm, October 18, 2010

    Jaime, please dont forget to explain the difference between NET & SPEND when you release your Article on how Rafa spent LFC's money!!!

  21. Henry didn't "have" to face anyone. He obviously wanted to as he is interested in listening to the fans.

    Either that or the "evil cult of SOS" have managed to brainwash him already! Or maybe this "gang if thugs" threatened him with violence! Or maybe he's a little more broad-minded and can see a group of normal Liverpool fans who care about their club giving huge amounts of time and effort to try and have a voice and make a difference that will benefit all fans of the club in the long term.

  22. My goodness you and you NET & SPEND!!!!!!  I buy a computer for 400 pounds, sell it for 450, buy another for 500 and sell it for 550, then buy another for 600 pounds. I have a computer worth 600 pounds and in essence I spent 500 on it. How can you come tell me that I spent 1500 pounds and that is what counts!!!!! I spent friggin 500 NET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Re Keane. I thought it was common knowledge that he was sold for an amount up to 16m or so.  Clearly 12m was upfront (ie in this case "guaranteed fess" being the amount upfront and not subject to conditions).  So in fact Keane's sale could still rise to 16m (although unlikely given his Spurs form).

    Same with Alonso, again the accounts report the guaranteed amount.  Given Alonso's excellent record with Real, I would suggest that the conditional elements of his sale are likely to mean that we will get close to £30m.  So on these two I don't think any myth has been "debunked".

  24. Ian - instead of just posting supposition based on no evidence, why don't you provide some evidence to back up your asserion that it's 'Common knowledge'.

    If there are further fees to be payable for transfer it is specifically stated in the accounts.  No such fees exist for either Alonso or Keane.

    You may 'suggest' what you like, and try and contradict the club's own accounts (!), but you are wrong.  The amounts posted in this article are fact, whether you like it or not.

    if you can prove otherwise, using more persuasive evidence than 'it's common knowledge', then go ahead.

  25. Just to follw my above post.  You forgot to mention that the sale of Robbie Keane (just after you have cropped the image attached here), that significant conditional fees are attached to the sale.  I direct you to your very own article.  Funny that you decided to crop that out this time.  


    And by the way, your arguments in this linked article that Alsonso's fee did not have any conditional elements attached are laughable.

  26. See below.  I think that its.  Yes, it is.  Straight from the accounts no less.  And then quoted by you.  Is that good enough for you?

  27. The Roy Hodgson Brigade12:17 am, October 19, 2010

    And you want to use pennies and compare it to millions?

    We arent talking about buying a computer Paul. We are talking about the utter shite that walks onto the pitch on matchday. What someone like you refuses to understand is that Million upon Million was spent by Rafa from the Moores days until his depature.

    You buy a player for 10mil, sell him for 12mil then buy another player for 14mil.

    You now own a player which cost you 14mil not minus 2 mil and neither did you pay positive 2mil for the player which you sold (that is if you understand what I am saying)

    Lets work it out

    minus (subtract) 10 mil Bought - money payed out
    plus (add) 12mil sold - money received
    minus 14mil bought - money payed out
    difference - minus 2 mil

    Go to your local accountant (a real one though) and take my figures and ask him to work out for you how much money was spent 1. buying a player 2.selling that player and  3.buying a new player.

    If my calculations are correct when running a business then it will be as follows in order for your books to balance...

    Subtract 10mil money payed out
    Add 12mil money received
    Subtract 14mil money payed out
    Difference minus 2 mil

    On my books it will reflect that I spent 24mil on player purchases the total money I payed out, recouped 12mil on sales the total money received back and made a loss of 2mil but Now I am sitting with an asset of 14mil which is the new player.

    If you suggest that you spent minus 2mil your NET figure on a player that actually cost 14mil then you might as well run for the hills because the first person who will be knocking on your door is your nearest debt collector.

    Now I can do a full detailed breakdown as an example on how much you would have paid for a full squad but honestly it will be a waste of time.

  28. Presumably you will update the inaccuracies in your article and offer a "correction"?  I'm not trying to score points, but on one hand you hold yourself out as the guy who tells the truth trying to prove the press or perception wrong.  So you should also accept when you are wrong.  

    My problem with many of your articles is that they are not based on full facts, facts yes, but not all.  Take your Alonso argument above.  You can't be sure that no further fees are payable.  Yet you hold it out as fact. I don't believe that you deliberately omitted the details on Keane, but your reaction to my post is ridiculous.

    Despite not having full facts you still jump in with both feet on a one-sided crusade to prove somebody somewhere was wrong.  This totally undermines the diligent research you do and also your mantra that you try to present the truth.  I don't think you have an agenda for or against H&G. But you clearly have an agenda, which is to prove others wrong (and commonly held beliefs).  This in my opinion means that your arguments are not always neutral, you tend to favour the position that will prove that position as wrong.  This undermines your position as a presenter of the truth.  You would be better served just presenting the evidence and letting people make their own minds up.   

  29. The reason the NET arguments are valid is because it allowed the manager to try and "trade up" with players. If, for example, the manager was allowed to spend £10m on a player and then subsequently sold him for £20m and went on to replace him with a player that cost £21m then the overall outlay to get that player is 11m. You have effectively got a £21m player for £11m. You couldn't argue that it would be good business.

    I'm not going to try and say we made a profit on every player and "traded up" every time but that's the rationale behind the argument.

  30. Ian - I'm sick of you subtly trying to undermine articles at every stage for no other reason than trying to undermine.  take your comments about Alonso and Aquilani, for example.  The accounts are final; they state categorically the fees paid for each player.  They even state TOTAL fees; no contingent liabilities for either transfer are recorded in the accounts, eyt you still try and make out I've somehow got it wrong.  Well, I can't be bothered to argue the toss with you anymore.  If you have a problem with me then email me and we'll discuss it.  Any more comments that include your inaccurate personal 'opinion' about me, or my motives will be deleted.  if you don't like that, don't visit the site anymore.

  31. "the fee recorded in the accounts is total, with any future fees included already in that total<span></span><span>"</span>
    I don't think many of us knew that. I certainly didn't! It really doesn't make sense though because how can you account for money that may or may not come to you? For example a sell on fee? And future perfomances surely does not include only one season following? Are you sure about this Jaimie?

  32. Hey Paul - we don't know that all player contracts have sell on clauses / performance clauses etc. I agree it seems strange but who am I to argue with Deloitte? When contingent fees are due, there is a section in the accounts outlining this.

  33. Ha.  You have deleted my comment which proved you wrong.  And then also changed your previous article to suit this argument too.  

    I don't try to undermine you any less than you try to undermine other peoples and journalists views.  Seems that when your work does not stand up to proper critique you have the editorial conscious of Pravda.

    Do you deny that the accounts say extra fees on Keane may become payable?  Whether this has been fulfilled is debatable (and yes I did acknowledge that they may not be fulfilled).  The point is you dont know they haven't and choose to exclude it and continue to do so.  And whether these conditions were payable the next year or the year after you also do not know.

    It is not my intention to undermine you in anyway, however I consider myself to be able to form my own opinions, much like your view about the press, I treat your facts and assertions on them with a healthy dose of scepticism too.  And given that I am a qualified accountant for 10 years I am always happy to offer my view on your financial posts which also do not always stand up to critique.  You can delete this comment too, if you feel you can't defend it.

  34. By the way, for your information not all contingent amounts will be shown in the accounts.  The key point here is "probable".  It's often up to debate and the view of the auditors as to whether the conditions are more likely or not to be paid.  This may not always be correct and will change each year when the view of the probiility of contingent fees being paid are reviewed.

    If you can't be bother to argue with me, have a look at what I say, and treat it with some respect, rather than just defensively defending your position.

  35. I think the evidence is in the wording. When talking about Keane and Alonso they are talking about guaranteed fees. This would suggest to me that, based on performance there are still fees to be received, whether or not we every got more money is yet to be seen. When talking about other transfers (Kirkland, the Jimmy Kampers and others) they just talked about "total fees received." So the fact they make a distinctions in their wording suggests that the Keane and Alonso deals might be worth more than the up front payment. Other than that looks like you have your details spot on.

  36. look jamie let Ian keep his posts up he is neither rude or out to deliberately undermine you . He has articulately put his views accross and isnt that what you want ?
     its to the greater good in our hunt for the truth.

  37. Wow!  We got nearly £14 million for Diouf, Baros & Josemi.  Great bit of business!!

  38. Except that they cost £15m + wages and two of them were complete dross. Diouf gets booed at Anfield still, which is common place at every other gound in the country, but most ex-players generally get a warm welcome when playing their former clubs.

    Jaimie: What is the truth about the Torres fee? Is it £20m, £20.2m, £24m, or £26.5m. I read a different figure in every article.

  39. This makes very interesting reading, we need to focus on getting better  players now. Players at the top of their game, not people who may be good or were good, the best players...


  40. How did you get this information - very interesting!

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  41. Salif Diao, now there's a player who will go down in Reds' history...

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