The truth about Jan Oblak's £88.4 million buyout clause

After it emerged that Liverpool had pulled out of the race to sign Alisson from Roma, many started questioning why Jan Oblak was off-bounds.

For over a month now, it has been clear that Liverpool were interested, and probably still are, in a move for Alisson Becker. The Brazilian is at the World Cup with Brazil after a great season with Roma and has attracted attention from a lot of top goalkeepers.

However, Roma’s asking price for the goalkeeper is too high and so the Reds pulled out and are now going to go into the new season with Loris Karius as the club’s no.1, who has been slated by fans and the media relentlessly since the Champions League final.

But what about Atletico Madrid’s gloveman Alisson? Why aren’t Liverpool making moves to sign him? Well, MirrorSport writer and Anfield Index podcaster Mo Chatra has shed some light on the true nature of his reported £88.4 million release clause.

Typically, buyout clauses are triggered by the club wishing to purchase a certain player but in Oblak’s case, his has to be activated himself which, in Mo Chatra’s own words, “means the buying club would transfer funds to the player.”

Sounds fairly simple and risk-free, right? Well, not really. While changes in Spanish law mean that the funds hypothetically transferred to Oblak would be virtually free of personal income tax, Liverpool would need to deposit the entire £88.4 million sum into the player’s bank account.

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This would be a problem as transfer fees are typically paid in three installments and as Mo tells us, this would be the equivalent of paying the first installment for a £265 million deal – which would break Neymar’s £222 million world transfer record.

While Mo doesn’t deny that Liverpool saw an increase in revenue last season due to their fantastic Champions League run – he cites a figure “circa £90 million” – he does say that that money may well be committed to other financial agreements. i.e redevelopment of Kirkby, Main Stand loan repayments.

He also mentions the need to pay installments for deals agreed last summer but reckons Philippe Coutinho’s £142 million transfer fee will go some way to offset those.

What Mo ultimately brings it down to is the fact that Liverpool are less likely to part with £88.4 million up front and risk compromising other transfer or infrastructure plans.

This is especially pertinent when you consider the fact that the club is already unwilling to meet Roma’s asking price for Alisson which would be paid over a few installments.

At the end of the day, it looks as though Loris Karius is going to be the Reds’ no.1 next season and until that changes, we back him to the hilt.

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