Sterling to request transfer from Liverpool
The issues are nicely covered in the ESPNFC piece.
As for Sterling himself, he's been very disappointing, but it's harder to play well when you're no longer surrounded by great players. He could have demonstrated that he is more than just potential this year, and he fell short. But when he looks around the dressing room, is it any surprise he thinks he could do better elsewhere? On this season's form, how many members of the Liverpool team could play for Chelsea? Two, for sure. Sterling and Philippe Coutinho, though only one at a time. Jordan Henderson might make the bench. And that's it. That's not enough quality for a team who aspires to win major trophies.
What FSG have to decide now is whether they want pull out their wallets and have another go, whether they want to run the club within its means and so decline, or if they want to hand over the enterprise to someone with more willingness to spend. That final option should not be easily dismissed. This a consortium formed to make money, not to chase romantic dreams of victory. .............
FSG took over a basket case of a football club that was on the brink of serious financial trouble. As disappointing as this season has been, they no longer have to worry about meeting the payments of ruinous loans. If UEFA do throttle back on FFP, there may be someone out there who wants to throw money at one of the most famous names in club football. Outside of the Champions League once again, Liverpool are drifting away from the top four. By the end of the week, they could be behind Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton as well. You can't blame Sterling for wanting to leave. What matters now is how FSG react.
Will the Fenway Sports Group (FSG) open the wallet?
As owners of the Red Sox, they know the world of USA Major League Baseball (MLB) the best.
There is a "soft wage control" mechanism in the from of the "luxury tax." Most MLB spend below the amount needed to trigger the provisions. But with a relatively high luxury tax cut-off, there are salary disparities below the line such that big market high budget teams above/below but near the line will toss free agent dollars to lure stars developed/discovered by small market teams.
Yet, through good usage of stats and scouting, teams with more modest budgets can be very competitive in MLB.
One wonders if stat heavy analytics is as effective in soccer as it is in baseball?
From what I read, Liverpool spent the 5th most in salary in the EPL in 2014-2015 and they are, at the moment, in fifth place.
Will be interesting what the wage bill will be at the start of the 2015-16 campaign and what it was in the previous years under FSG?
Since FSG has taken over the club, Liverpool have finished the following:
2010-2011 6th place
2011-2012 8th place
2012-2013 7th place
2013-2014 2nd place
2014-2015 5th, 6th or 7th place depending on this weekend's matches.
Given their financial commitments thus far (generous but not at big 4 levels), finishing 5/6/7/8 has been the typical result. The fantastic run in 2013-2014 was the high water mark where they caught magic in a bottle. I suppose that is what saber metric money conscious MLB organizations do in the USA.
Is that FSG's model for Liverpool?
If so, how often will they catch the magic and break into the top 4 without spending on top 4 salaries?
Liverpool fans may eventually conclude this isn't enough for them but unless FSG sells to even deeper pocketed owners, this might be as good as it gets?