Roberto Firmino’s contract with Liverpool has a €98 million release clause that can be triggered by any club – save the exception of their Premier League rivals Arsenal.
The bizarre specification could perhaps be attributed to the Reds, who were so unhappy with the Gunners’ £40m+£1 bid for Luis Suarez back in 2013 that they appear to have taken revenge in the terms of the Brazilian forward’s deal.
Gunners officials clearly believed that their actions back then would trigger the buy-out clause in the striker’s contract, which prompted Reds owner John W. Henry’s tweet in response: “What do you think they’re smoking over there at the Emirates?”
Now, Liverpool appears to have taken retributive action by specifying in Firmino’s deal that he can be bought for €98m (£82m) “if the interested club is not Arsenal”.
Firmino made the switch for Liverpool from Hoffenheim in June 2015, with the Brazilian forward already agreed to a “long-term” contract at Anfield.
After scoring 10 goals in 31 games in his debut season in the Premier League, he has established himself as one of the division’s top attacking players in this season with five goals and three assists in 13 matches. His current form – and his combination play with compatriot Philippe Coutinho – has helped Liverpool into third place in the English top flight.
The disclosure of his contract comes as part of the latest series of releases by Football Leaks, who have exposed substantial amounts of information in the contracts of top players and clubs over the past year.
The most recent leaks include claims that clients of Jorge Mendes’ agency Gestifute – such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Jose Mourinho and Mesut Ozil – have evaded taxes owed to the countries in which they play. Gestifute have strongly denied any wrongdoing, and Real Madrid has also since shown support by backing Ronaldo himself.