Up to £20million. That’s how much Fulham wanted Liverpool to pay them as compensation for Harvey Elliott’s move from London to Merseyside as a 16-year-old in 2019.
It’s not hard to understand why. Even in a handful of senior appearances for the Reds in the following season, it was clear to see that the teenager is outrageously talented.
Still, though £10m up front and another £10m further down the line – that’s what Fulham wanted – for a player who had not signed a contract was ridiculous. The £850k offered by Liverpool was, admittedly, a bit too far the other way.
But since when does Michael Edwards and the Liverpool transfer committee over pay for, well, anyone?
That paltry figured was deemed ‘insulting’ by the Cottagers, and so it went to tribunal.
The result of that was announced this week, with an initial £1.2m having to be paid alongside an extra £300k because he has signed a professional contract at Anfield.
If he fulfils certain other conditions, such as earning a second Liverpool deal and appearing for the senior England side, the overall fee could potentially rise to a maximum of £4.3m – less than a quarter of the total Fulham initially wanted for their starlet.
It’s a good result for Liverpool. The Reds may have offered a lot less, but they will know full well that less than £5m for one of the biggest young talents on the planet right now is an absolute steal in this market.
Fulham were quick to take to social media and boast about the “record amount for a 16-year-old” they had earned. While this is true, you can’t help but feel the London-based side has got the worse end of the deal.Embed from Getty Images
For Liverpool have paid a paltry sum – just £1.5m so far – and have recruited a superb young player who is catching fire in the Championship right now on loan with Blackburn Rovers.
Four goals and nine assists across 24 games is a superb return for a 17-year-old, who despite his obvious talent still has a lot to learn about the men’s game.
He will have celebrated his 18th birthday by the time his loan ends, and on current evidence he will be ready to make the step up and start playing regularly in the Premier League.
Whether or not that will be at Anfield remains to be seen. There’s no reason why he can’t force his way into the first team in the coming years, but perhaps his development might be best served with another loan move to a side in the bottom half of the table in 2021/22, where he would get more game time. But that is for the management to decide.
The world is at Harvey Elliott’s feet. His talent is undeniable, and his attitude and application have, so far, been just as impressive.
If he continues to work hard an perform well, that second Liverpool contract and that England appearance are a foregone conclusion.Embed from Getty Images
In that case Liverpool would have to pay the full £4.3m to Fulham – but that’s pocket change for a player who has the potential to become one of the best attacking players of his generation.
“We now look forward to welcoming Harvey back from his loan spell with Blackburn Rovers in the summer and helping him continue to build towards a long and successful career at Anfield,” said Liverpool FC in an official statement after the tribunal’s outcome was announced.
Note the adjectives. Hopefully that success does come into fruition for the whole team – and Elliott could be at the forefront of that.
Liverpool have pulled off some remarkable transfer deals in recent years, but in the next decade this may go down as one of the very best.
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