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Ajax Could Stand to Make Millions Thanks to Suarez Sell-On Fee

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For Liverpool fans, this summer's transfer window is quickly developing a theme—sell-on fees. And now there's news Ajax could be owed 10-15% of any amount paid for Luis Suarez.

Alex Livesey

Every Liverpool fan by now has heard of Adam Lallana's 25% sell-on fee, and last week QPR's former chairman revealed the London club would get 20% of any future sale of Raheem Sterling. Now there's another name to add to the sell-on list, and it's a big one: Luis Suarez. Dutch sources are reporting that as part of Liverpool's attempts to work through an impasse with Ajax over the eventual £23M deal to bring Suarez to Anfield, a 10-15% sell-on clause was written in.

At the time, negotiations between the two clubs had seemed stalled, with Ajax setting their valuation of Suarez higher than Liverpool were willing to pay. With no other clubs arriving late to drive up the price to one Ajax would have considered acceptable, it's not entirely unreasonable to think that a sell-on fee clause could have been included as a way of bridging the gap between the two sides.

Despite that they rarely get much discussion in the press, sell-on fees are not especially rare, particularly with younger players that represent a gamble for both buying and selling club. In such cases, a buying club wants to minimise their outlay should the promising youngster not pan out while the selling club wants to cover for if he turns into a star. A sell-on fee as part of the deal often satisfies both parties—even if a club occasionally ends up regretting it down the road.

Suarez wasn't quite in the same position as a young, promising player back when Liverpool bought him in January of 2011, but he did come with a lot of baggage. Baggage that scared off any other potential suitor in England or Spain and made Liverpool unwilling to pay more than the £23M they eventually did for him. That was the extent of what they were willing to risk for a player who at times had been as much curse as blessing for Ajax.

On pure talent, though, he was worth far more than that, and Ajax knew it. As such, the inclusion of a sell-on fee would be the easy answer to help cover for the difference in valuation. But now, if a bid were to arrive for Suarez, it could end up impacting Liverpool's willingness to sell much as Lallana's sell-on clause has made Southampton more resistant to doing a deal than they might otherwise have been.

Rather than seeing it as a sign that Liverpool could lose out on any eventual Suarez pay day, then, fans might be better taking it as a sign Liverpool will be even less likely to sell the striker than they might have previously imagined. Liverpool were in a much worse place when they held off interest in him last summer. This summer, if actual offers were to arrive and if Suarez were to begin pushing for a move—something he hasn't yet shown signs of doing—the club would hold all the cards.

Even without having to give Ajax a portion of any fee they would have had little motivation to sell no matter the offer. Now, any possible motivation to sell him just dropped further. By about 10-15%.