Last summer, Jadon Sancho joined Manchester United in a £73M deal that had many Liverpool fans ruing what felt at the time like a missed opportunity. However, rather than improving United, the 22-year-old English forward seemed to take a step back with the dysfunctional Red Devils.
Now, it has been suggested Sancho could easily have ended up a Liverpool player, with Jürgen Klopp a fan and the club willing to meet Borussia Dortmund’s asking price. However, what stopped a deal happening was Sancho’s wage demands of nearly £300k per week—demands United were willing to meet.
That’s the story from David Lynch in The National this week, with the club-connected journalist insisting it is base wage and not transfer fee that is the determining factor in whether or not Liverpool will sign a player, as was the case with Sancho and with new signing Darwin Núñez.
While Sancho chose a struggling mess of a United side willing to pay double what Liverpool’s wage structure would have allowed, Núñez was given the same option—and chose Champions League nights at Anfield and growing his game in a more settled environment under Jürgen Klopp.
Given how Sancho’s time at United has gone, it’s hard not to read an awful lot into his decision and how poor it looks for both player and club a year later. Liverpool, on the other hand, then went on to sign Luis Diaz in January, a player they wouldn’t have had they given Sancho what he wanted.
It’s also worth noting that Liverpool’s reported wages are the base payout, with year end financials showing total wage payouts far in excess of those reported wages, something that isn’t the case to nearly the same degree with other clubs. If they have success, players like Diaz and Núñez will be paid more.
But only if they have success. Now, signs point to Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham being given the same choice next year—at least unless Man City, the one English club able to offer more money along with a similar culture of success, also enter the race. It will be interesting to see what choice he makes.