BRENDAN RODGERS has laid down Liverpool's hard-line spending policy by insisting he will abort any transfer he suspects is motivated by money rather than ambition.
In what will be seen as a veiled threat to the representatives of Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge, Rodgers recognises too many lucrative deals have been dished out at Anfield with little or no justification.
Liverpool's £12m pursuit of Sturridge has stalled because of financial rather than football issues, even though the player himself is keen to complete the deal, with the potential payments to agents regarding any sell-on fees a sticking point.
It is a reflection of Liverpool's standing that they have been perceived as a soft touch for the past few years, all too willing to pay out inflated transfer fees and agents' payments in a desperate attempt to reclaim their elite status.
Even Blackpool, who paid just £500,000 for Thomas Ince a year ago, are confident they can bully Liverpool into paying above the Merseysiders' £4m valuation of their former midfielder.
Rodgers inherited a messy situation and has experienced first-hand how Liverpool's name is adding pound signs to contracts even though their current position does not warrant it.
His tough stance is not without risk, given the power agents yield over their clients. It is conceivable that Liverpool will miss out on potential recruits but Rodgers is sure his idealistic principles are necessary to end the culture of waste.
"They will get a good contract coming here but if they want to argue over money, and other things that go around it, I don't want them here," said Rodgers.
"In my experience those players will eventually let you down anyway. So, for us, it is about getting players in who are hungry to succeed and to pull on the shirt.
"That's the simple message for any player coming here – you can't take the money and run. You have to earn the right to play for this club and to help us succeed.
"The club are really on board with me on that. It is part of what we need to be successful again. You trace back over many years at this football club and they have brought hungry players in. They were also good players, but they were all hungry.
" Football is a unique business. It's one of very few sports and industries where you can get paid very good money on potential. People will tell you what they're going to do. I would rather reward people for what they do and then there's no drama."
Although Liverpool's exile from the Champions League means attracting the world's best talent is more difficult, Rodgers cites Luis Suarez as proof of how to get the best from a deal for both the player and the club.
"Luis is a great example," said the Antrim man. "He came in on a good contract and coming from Ajax, a proven player, but he wanted to come to this club and thankfully he signed a new deal in the summer. He earned that."
As expected, Raheem Sterling signed a new five-year contract yesterday. (© Daily Telegraph, London)
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