Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group recently rejected a bid of close to £3billion to end their 10-year tenure at the helm, according to blockbuster reports. FSG are claimed to have snubbed the offer prior to the controversial attempt to form a new European Super League.
The Reds were one of the main clubs involved in the effort to form a breakaway mid-week league designed to rival UEFA’s Champions League.
The incredibly lucrative competition was designed to favour 15 founding clubs, who were guaranteed involvement each year and would’ve stood to pocket huge amounts of money.
The closed nature of the tournament, which had no relegation, and the further financial division it would’ve created in English and European football saw it widely condemned by fans.
Liverpool were forced into a humiliating climbdown on Tuesday as all of England’s ‘Big Six’ Premier League clubs withdrew from the ESL in quick succession.
John W Henry released a public video message to Liverpool supporters on Wednesday in which he took sole responsibility for the decision, with Jurgen Klopp and the club’s players having made it clear they had no say in the matter.
And the Sunday Mirror now claim that before the rebellious plot, Henry and co. knocked back a mammoth takeover offer from the Middle East.
That’s despite the fact that the coronavirus pandemic has taken a significant financial impact on Liverpool, who have lost around £120million in revenue as a result of Covid.
And they will lose out on more money if they fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League, with Saturday’s 1-1 draw to Newcastle a gut punch to their top-four hopes.
But the Mirror say that there are still several potential bidders, many of whom are from the Middle East, who are waiting to see if John W Henry and chairman Tom Werner will change their stance on selling the club.
The duo are among those coming in for huge criticism for their role in the Super League, with fans lining up on Anfield Road to protest against FSG before the match against Newcastle.
Supporters stood outside Anfield as the team bus drove towards the ground for the midday kick-off with banners displaying their anger towards the club’s owners.
One banner read ‘Spirit of Shanks, not seedy yanks’ while others included: ‘£nough is £nough. FSG out’, ‘Our club, our game, thanks but no yank$’ and ‘FSG rats’.
Club legend Jamie Carragher said on Sky Sports earlier in the week that he feels FSG’s time at Liverpool is over.
He declared: “They can’t just leave the club, obviously, the business is worth a lot of money. But I don’t see a future for the ownership of FSG at Liverpool on the back of this. This will never be forgotten.
“I think the best thing for them would be to find a new buyer. I think it will be very difficult for them to have any sort of relationship with Liverpool supporters and the club going forward.”
FSG have owned Liverpool since 2010, when they paid £300m to buy the club from fellow Americans Tom Hicks and George Gillett after a restraining order was lifted blocking the deal.
Liverpool were on the brink of administration before FSG came in, former club managing director Christian Purslow revealed back in 2012.
And although Liverpool have won a sixth Champions League and a first league title in 30 years – their first in the Premier League era – since FSG came in, fans are furious at their latest mistake and the fact they did not consult fans over the decision to sign up to the ESL.
Over the course of their ownership, Henry and Werner also attempted to introduce £77 ticket prices, sought to trademark the word Liverpool and wanted to put staff on the government’s furlough scheme. They were heavily criticised for all of those incidents.
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The ESL drama on top of that has led for calls for them to leave, and it remains to be seen whether the American pair will change their stance on cutting ties with the Anfield outfit.
Any deal it is said by the Mirror would be in excess of £3bn with Forbes valuing the club, even amid the continued global COVID-19 crisis, at £2.95bn ($4.1bn), up from £1.58bn ($2.2bn) in 2019.
Both Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and captain Jordan Henderson have backed the club’s current owners FSG amid recent criticism of the Boston-based bosses.
Klopp said: “Our owners are not bad people – they just made a bad decision but let’s carry on.
“I know the owners, I have known them six years, I know there are some moments when they might not have made right decision, this time for sure.
“But it doesn’t change things for me, I prefer to deal with problems with people I know than changing them. I know it’s normal that people will say ‘how can we carry on?’ but that needs longer time, you cannot sort that in a week.”
Henderson meanwhile said of FSG: “They have done good things for our club and I believe they will continue to do so.”