In recent seasons, Liverpool have made something of a habit of raiding the Bundesliga for bargains, triggering Emre Can’s €12M release clause in 2014 and then getting Loris Karius for just €5.5M last summer thanks to a similarly release clause. Between the two, they nabbed Jöel Matip on a free transfer.
Now, according to SportsBild, they could be set for another Bundesliga bargain, Bayer Leverkusen’s 20-year-old winger and attacking midfielder Julian Brandt. The young talent reportedly has a release clause of just €12.5M and could be brought in this January to cover for Sadio Mané while he’s at the AFCON.
If true, it would represent a stunning bargain and a great opportunity for Liverpool to bring in one of Germany’s most promising young attackers on the cheap—and certainly it would represent far better value than trying to pry the less polished and costlier Christian Pulisic away from Borussia Dortmund.
And, given the landscape in Germany, it’s not difficult to believe that it is true. It’s common amongst German clubs to offer their younger players low release clauses during negotiations so that they will accept lower wages—a cost-saving tactic that, for the most part over the years, has tended to work in their favour.
However, there is the obvious downside that when a developing player exceeds expectations or develops more quickly than was expected and is slow to sign a new deal with both higher wages and either a higher or no release clause, it can lead to an exceptional bargain for any shrewd poaching club.
Last season, Brandt scored 10 goals and eight assists in 44 total appearances for Leverkusen as a 19-year-old. The year before, when he broke into their first team, he managed four goals and five assists in 35 appearances. He has already earned four senior Germany caps.