Luis Suarez may have only signed a new deal last summer, seeing his weekly wages doubled to £80k a year and a half after arriving from Ajax, but less than eight months later he's already been handed another hefty pay hike. This time, though, it's thanks to the striker having passed a series of appearance and performance benchmarks to trigger an automatic escalator clause included in that contract.
After appearing in all but one match so far in the league and having topped 20 goals on Saturday when his hat-trick against Wigan took him to 21 in the league (28 overall), he has triggered the first major escalator. It takes his salary up to £100k per week—an astronomical figure to your average fan, but hardly out of line for one of the best footballers on the planet.
Fenway Sports Group have, since Brendan Rodgers arrived, built any new contracts around such clauses, meant to reward results while lowering the risk of tying the club to over-paid under-performers. And when it comes to Suarez, there are suggestions that if he hits further benchmarks over the coming seasons his salary could jump by another £20k.
On the other hand, the recently departed Joe Cole—who finally left the club in January after three and a half years on more than £90k a week—as well as the only recently improved Stewart Downing and his £70k weekly salary, both serve as examples of just the sort of situation the club's owners are intent on avoiding in the future.
While few would have begrudged Suarez a salary in line with the league's top earners from the beginning, getting him on the same kind of incentivised contract the club has since handed out to younger players like Suso and Raheem Sterling will have sent a powerful message about the way they plan to do things from now on. Most, including in all likelihood the club's owners, will surely now hope that Suarez triggers the rest of his contract's escalator clauses.