Liverpool are reportedly close to agreeing a deal for Rhian Brewster to join Sheffield United. The Reds’ reasoning makes it a clever transfer.
The Daily Mail report that Brewster is close to moving to Sheffield United for around £17m. They’re prepared to include a buy-back clause, too, meaning Liverpool can sign Brewster anytime for an undisclosed price.
So it appears that Liverpool will move on a very promising forward. Brewster, who impressed with Swansea City last season, has never really had a first-team chance but the Mail article claims the Reds don’t see him getting one anytime soon.
Hence the decision to move him on.
But there is one line in there that suggests this is a very smart move. Far smarter than things initially look, in fact. One the face of it, Liverpool are selling a very talented home-grown talent for a fee that could look tiny in a few years.
There’s more to it than that, though.
So, why not a loan deal? Why not let Brewster spend a year with a Premier League club, develop more, and then have a look in a year? The Mail claims Liverpool have a very good reason.
“Liverpool chiefs have been adamant Brewster would not leave on loan,” the outlet says. “They instead wanted Brewster’s suitors to make a commitment and buy him permanently to ensure he will be developed properly.”
That’s smart. Liverpool are effectively attempting to get the benefits of a loan deal in that he can come back, but with the added bonus that Sheffield United will have to develop Brewster.
With a loan, a club can give up on a player. We saw it with Harry Wilson at Bournemouth. The Welshman didn’t play more than 45 minutes in a game after the restart – the Cherries put their focus elsewhere.
It didn’t benefit them to develop Wilson, so they invested that time in players they owned. Liverpool clearly didn’t like that.
But with Sheffield United paying £17m, they have to put the time in. If they don’t, then Brewster won’t amount to anything and it’s a complete waste of £17m. But if they do, then the minimum they get is Liverpool paying them to get him back.
It’s a low-risk loan deal, then. Liverpool will only bring him back if he’s good enough and the onus is on Sheffield United to make sure that’s the case.