Thursday 14 November 2019

Liverpool owners block Rodgers' bid to sign Clint Dempsey

Clint Dempsey has joined Tottenham, Fulham have confirmed
Clint Dempsey has joined Tottenham, Fulham have confirmed

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers spent transfer deadline day trying to convince his club's American owners to pay £7m for Fulham's Clint Dempsey.

As the closure of the transfer window neared, it emerged that Rodgers was not just negotiating with Fulham, but also his own hierarchy as he argued his case on the merits of signing the 29-year-old USA international.

On another odd day in the tumultuous recent boardroom history at the Merseyside club, it became apparent the main stumbling block in a deal was Fenway Sports Group's (FSG) transfer policy and new financial constraints.

Despite slashing the wage bill by millions, including offloading Andy Carroll on the presumption it would free funds for a replacement, Rodgers was informed there was not enough money to sanction all the deals he wanted.

Although terms were in place for Dempsey, FSG were also reluctant to spend any money on a player in his late 20s.

Rodgers had to effectively request a rethink on the entire 'moneyball' mantra that had been emphasised when John Henry bought Liverpool nearly two years ago.

Dempsey, who later joined Tottenham, had earlier rejected the chance to join Aston Villa, desperate for Liverpool to reopen negotiation.

FSG had stated previouslythat they would rather invest in young talent rather than those who will have no sell-on value at the end of their contracts.

Rodgers argued that his side needed a blend of youth and experience, and Dempsey is a proven goalscorer over five seasons in English football.

It seemed inconceivable as the deadline approached that, having allowed Carroll to join West Ham on loan, Rodgers would be left with Suarez as his only experienced striker. But that's how things stood as the deadline passed, leaving Rodgers with a loan deal his chance of getting an additonal striker.

The transfer window has proven a thorough education for the latest Anfield incumbent on the financial reality gripping the club.

Chairman Tom Werner suggested last season Liverpool could match the top clubs in Europe.

"I would say we certainly have the resources to compete with anybody in football," he said on April 12.

Lavish

That seemed a lavish promise as Rodgers waited anxiously for the green light to sign Dempsey, particularly given the number of senior players who have left since he was appointed, many of whom he was helpless to prevent departing.

Numerous high-earning players have left since the end of last season, including Dirk Kuyt, Craig Bellamy, Alberto Aquilani, Carroll and Max Rodriguez. Fabio Aurelio, Charlie Adam and Jay Spearing have also been moved on, equating to a conservative estimate of £20m slashed in wages, and yet Rodgers still found himself pleading for every last penny to try to force through the Dempsey deal.

Liverpool held talks with Chelsea for the loan signing of Daniel Sturridge, but Sturridge wanted to make the transfer permanent. Rodgers possessed neither the funds nor the inclination to bid £15m for his services. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

The Left Wing: Champions Cup preview, the World Cup hangover and Joe Schmidt's next team

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport