8 Sept 2013

Confirmed: LFC ignored 'overpaying' warning re £15m transfer waste. Negligence?

As part of a management team that wasted ridiculous amounts of money on players, Damien Comolli will forever be tainted by his association with Liverpool FC. The Frenchman's most egregious contribution to LFC's negligent transfer strategy under Kenny Dalglish is undoubtedly the inexplicable £35m signing of Andy Carroll, but Comolli now claims that he warned the club against spending that kind of money.

In an interview last night, Comolli insisted that the blame for failed transfers 'should be on the clubs', and tried to exclude himself from blame for the Carroll transfer. He told the Sunday People:

“I said we were overpaying by £15m for Carroll, but that if the player is not successful we will still get £20m back on him.

“And since then Liverpool have had a big loan fee from West Ham – they paid his wages for a year, and Liverpool have now sold him ­permanently to them".

I don't know about anyone else, but I find this reasoning a little disturbing:

* First, Comolli claims he basically warned the club (presumably FSG and Dalglish) that LFC were overpaying by £15m for Carroll. If that's the case, why didn't the club LISTEN? Why go ahead with the deal, especially for a player with practically zero Prem experience?

* Clearly, LFC were more than happy to overpay, and that means that Comolli's dissenting voice was drowned out by others in the management structure who wanted the striker at Anfield. Who could this be? The only real options are Dalglish, Ayre and the FSG hierarchy.

* This is mickey-mouse decision-making of the most amateur order: Okay, guys - let's grossly overpay for a player with only SIX MONTHS of top-flight experience, but it's okay - if he fails, we'll only make a £15m loss, so that's okay!

The Carroll transfer is arguably the most maddening in LFC history. You can spend hours, weeks, months analysing the deal and it's still impossible to understand the thought-process behind paying £35m (!)

Liverpool certainly overpaid, but by at least £23m (IMO), not £15m. Daniel Sturridge - an infinitely superior striker - cost only £12m, and there's no way Carroll is worth more than that. Additionally, it seems likely that Liverpool made more than a £15m loss on Carroll:

 photo ScreenShot2013-08-13at165502_zps4862bc35.png

NB. The salary costs quoted for Downing and Carroll are media estimates, but in the absence of exact, verifiable figures, this is the next best thing. Plus, it's probable that their actual salaries are pretty close to the quoted amounts.

Liverpool's owners (seemingly) made the mistake of unquestioningly trusting the judgment of Comolli and Dalglish on transfers, but if they couldn't trust the experience and insight of one of the club's greatest servants, who could they trust? Henry acknowledged the group's mistakes in his open letter to the fans last year:

"We are still in the process of reversing the errors of previous regimes. It has been compounded by our own mistakes in a difficult first two years of ownership"

Whatever way you look at it, financially speaking, Carroll represents a staggering financial loss for Liverpool FC, and after this level of stunning transfer negligence, FSG are absolutely right to take a more cautious approach to player purchases.

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