Benitez, Hicks and Gillet – Power Struggle at Liverpool?
It is ominous times for Liverpool after yesterday’s press conference in which Rafael Benitez hinted at dissatisfaction with the owners of LFC, Tom Hicks and George Gillet. The main issues revolves around how much investment will be made into squad development, that is to say the playing staff and player recruitment.
As reported in the press, Benitez is seeking to tie up Javier Mascherano on a long-term deal, while Ezequiel Garay is the priority centre-back. The manager feels that any delay in pushing forward with moves for these two players would result in other clubs, such as Barcelona and Real Madrid, stepping in and snatching them away. The statement released by the american owners on Liverpool’s official website is somewhat disconcerting. In particular, the point about making “significant investment” is in truth questionable to say the very least. £50 million outlay on transfer imports during the summer sheds positive light on the americans, yet on closer inspection, it merely serves as a smokescreen. In fact, approximately £24million net was spent in the close season, yet this goes unnoticed amongst neutrals and casual observers alike.
Relative to Manchester United and Tottenham, this figure seems nominal. How much of their own money the owners have invested is therefore vague and perhaps those who view Hicks and Gillet as the saviours of Liverpool are surely mistaken. A £500 million refinance package secured against the club and its assests is alarming enough, but these latest developments may well see Benitez walk away, or more likely, sacked. A reported £6million pay-off written in his contract would not, one feels, be enough of a deterrent for the owners to wield the axe. Their impatience with Benitez’ demands is tangible.
In essence, the total wealth of Hicks and Gillet coupled with their other sporting interests mean the money required to challenge the top is not available. In fact, in terms pound sterling, individually both Americans are not even billionaires. Furthermore, there has been growing discontent between the owners themselves, with key issues surrounding the refinance particular sticking points between the two. What this all means for where Liverpool Football Club end up over the next few years remains very much up in the air.
How do you feel about this situation and in general where Liverpool are going?