Liverpool, who have already agreed terms with the player, had hoped that Danny Ings would only cost them £4M. Burnley have all along insisted that they believe that, even with his contract expiring, they should be given £7M for the 22-year-old England U21 international. Now, the relegated club have signalled that they are determined to take the case to a tribunal.
This follows an offer earlier in the week of around £4M from Liverpool to waive their right to arbitration over the player which was rejected out of hand. The Liverpool Echo and others with sources inside the clubs report that Burnley are open to continued negotiations, but having set a £7M minimum valuation on the player—and being confident they can receive that if his case goes to a tribunal—there seems little to negotiate.
Aside perhaps from payment schedule, it is clear that Burnley are holding out for £7M, and if they cannot get it from Liverpool before the transfer window officially opens, they’ll leave it up to an FA arbitration board to determine Ings’ fair market value. With the player having agreed to terms with Liverpool pending a medical, this is not expected to impact his move, but it could be a blow to Liverpool’s larger transfer strategy.
A £3M valuation difference may not be a great deal, but it does mean that Ings will cost around twice as much as the club can reasonably hope to recoup from the sale of Rickie Lambert, who they paid £4M for last summer and who is now a year older and down to just one year left on the two-year deal he signed. And that means that Ings’ purchase, and the swapping out of presumptive third strikers, will eat into the transfer budget.
If the end result is Liverpool falling short in their attempts to sign a player for the starting eleven, and particularly if Liverpool end the summer still without the front line striker they have needed to bring in since last summer when Luis Suarez left, many will hold it against the club. Many will also, rightly or wrongly, consider it a mark against Ings should he not manage a double figure goal return in the league next season.
Meanwhile, Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling situation further complicates matters. Normally, Liverpool would be desperate for a low award from the tribunal in Ings’ case. However, there are few high profile cases that ever go to arbitration—the last was Daniel Sturridge in 2010, when Manchester City were awarded a fee rising to £9M with all add-ons—and what happens with Ings will help set precedent for what might with Sterling.
A low award in Ings’ case, one more in line with Liverpool’s £4M valuation, might be a win in the short term that comes back to haunt Liverpool if they can find no buyer willing to meet their Sterling valuation and decide to hold on to him for two more seasons.