According to The Athletic, Liverpool have had similar buy-back clauses inserted into the contract of Rhian Brewster, who left the Reds to join Sheffield United on Friday, as they did when the Reds sold both Jordan Ibe and Brad Smith to AFC Bournemouth in 2016.
Ibe, 24, and Smith, 26, both had buy-back clauses inserted to their deals with Bournemouth worth a combined £21 million which Liverpool failed to ever act upon.
In the case of Brewster, this isn’t a case of Liverpool pushing the 20-year-old out of the door as both the player and his representative, Leon Anderson, had been pushing for a deal to move to Bramall Lane.
Sheffield United have agreed to pay their club-record fee of £23.5 million with around £18 million of that figure understood to be guaranteed, with the rest reliant in performance-related add-ons.
Liverpool’s decision to sell Brewster, who signed from Chelsea back in 2015, hinged on United’s willingness to accept a sell-on clause as well as buy-back option which the Reds can trigger at any moment in the next three years.
What it would cost them to re-sign the England under-21’s international hasn’t been revealed but The Athletic claim that sources at Liverpool insist it’s a figure they regard as realistic if Brewster fulfils his potential at Bramall Lane.
Liverpool had a similar scenario unfold over four years ago during Jurgen Klopp’s first summer transfer window at Anfield in the case of Ibe and Smith.
Ibe had made a handful of appearances in Klopp’s first few months in charge, but was soon sold to the Cherries in a £15 million deal.
The now Derby County forward was the same age as Brewster when he decided to leave Anfield with the arrival of Sadio Mane and the rejuvenated form of Roberto Firmino limiting first-team opportunities.
“I had a chat with Klopp, and he thought it was best for me to spread my wings,” Ibe told The Beautiful Game podcast.
“We put it in the contract that, within the first three seasons, there was a buy-back clause.
“I went thinking I needed more time on the pitch, cause he was bringing Sadio Mane and then the following season he brought in Mo Salah.
“So I just thought that I needed to change clubs and become the main man there.”
What RTK has to say
Brewster’s Liverpool departure is a sad proposition for supporters but also an amicable one.
He was a hugely popular figure at Anfield and Klopp was sympathetic in the sense that he didn’t want to be the one to stand in the way of Brewster’s path especially after he lost over a year to injury during 2018/19.
The reality is that Liverpool’s relentless dominance over the past two seasons have seen the club set the bar incredibly high. Brewster couldn’t quite cut it at the top just yet, but this is by no means a reflection of the player’s failure as he was up against arguably the world’s most feared attacking triumvirate in world football.
Liverpool have showcased that there is still a pathway at the club for young talent with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Curtis Jones proof of that.
However, in the cases of Ibe, Smith and now Brewster, Liverpool continue to demonstrate to just how unforgiving it can be to reach the top.
In the case of Brewster, Liverpool’s success in striking a buy-back option reduces the risk of permanently waving goodbye to a player with limitless potential.
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