Liverpool’s pursuit of an unprecedented quadruple goes on with Jurgen Klopp’s side one point off Man City in the Premier League title-race and through to the Champions League quarter-finals and FA Cup semi-finals. Entering the business end of the season after the March international break, the Reds will push on for further glory as they look to add to their February League Cup final win.
But it’s not just at Anfield where sides have their sights focused on finishing the campaign on a high. In the Championship, the promotion fight is taking shape ahead of the final weeks of the season. And with a number of Liverpool loanees involved, the Reds could be set to profit.
Fulham look set to secure an instant return to the Premier League with the Cottagers boasting an eight-point lead at the top of the table and sitting 14 points clear of the play-off places, while still holding games in hand in the bank. Meanwhile, AFC Bournemouth currently sit second, six points clear of the play-off places having played two and three games less than the four sides below them.
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If Bournemouth end up winning promotion, Liverpool would receive a bonus payout from the Cherries after they signed Nat Phillips on loan. The defender, who has made eight appearances so far on the south coast, cost Scott Parker’s side a £ 1.5m loan fee in January, with the Reds set to bank an additional £ 250k if they clinch a return to the Premier League.
However, it appears to be a different story at Craven Cottage despite Neco Williams joining Fulham on loan in January. The ECHO understands the Wales international’s own temporary switch is a straight loan deal with wage recovery, suggesting that no loan fee or promotion bonus was included as part of the temporary transfer.
Williams isn’t the only Liverpool player to make the move to Fulham this season, with the Cottagers signing Harry Wilson the previous summer in a £ 12m deal. The Reds included a 15% sell-on clause as part of the deal, ensuring they would receive a bonus pay out should the winger ever depart Craven Cottage for a profit, with club bosses confident the Wales international would one day return to the Premier League . However, no promotion bonuses were disclosed when the 25-year-old made the move.
While Liverpool might not be able to bank a promotion bonus from Fulham’s efforts, they could be about to depending on the outcome of the Championship play-offs. Luton Town, Huddersfield Town, Sheffield United and Blackburn Rovers currently occupy the four spots, with Middlesbrough, Queens Park Rangers and Nottingham Forest all close behind and capable of breaking into the top six if games in hand go their way.
And if Sheffield United hang onto a play-off place before going on to secure an immediate return to the Premier League, they would join Bournemouth in owing the Reds a promotion bonus. The Blades parted with £ 500k to sign Ben Davies on loan from Liverpool last summer, with the 26-year-old making 18 appearances to date at Bramall Lane.
The Reds also negotiated a further £ 500k bonus if Sheffield United win promotion, which they had looked set to miss out on when Slavisa Jokanovic was dismissed back in November with the Blades sitting 16th in the table. However, Paul Heckingbottom has transformed their fortunes with his side currently fifth, occupying the third play-off spot and sitting two points clear of sides outside the top six.
It is worth noting they have played a game more than Middlesbrough and two games more than Nottingham Forest, who find themselves two and three points behind the Blades respectively. As a result, Sheffield United’s play-off hopes remain in the balance with Heckingbottom’s side having eight Championship games left to play.
A look at the Bournemouth and Sheffield United squads and Liverpool fans will notice that Phillips and Davies aren’t the only recognizable faces, with the Cherries and Blades also luring Dominic Solanke and Rhian Brewster away from Anfield in recent seasons due to big-money moves . And while the Reds could still bank further pay-outs as part of each deal, the ECHO understands they aren’t entitled to any promotion bonuses when it comes to either player.
This was because both clubs were still in the Premier League when they signed Solanke and Brewster, meaning no relevant promotion clause was included in either deal. However, if either striker are eventually sold on for a profit, then Liverpool will be entitled to an additional pay-out courtesy of 20% and 15% sell-on clauses included in each transfer.
Sporting Director Michael Edwards might be set to depart Anfield in the summer, but the Reds are again set to benefit thanks to his shrewd negotiating when it comes to outgoings. With Julian Ward taking a more hands-on approach in January ahead of replacing Edwards in the summer, Liverpool look set to continue to profit from such clauses in future deals to come.