Who first dreamed up the notion of the release clause? Perhaps it was a ploy adopted from the business sector – potentially incarnated by former Tottenham-owner-turned-TV-personality-turned-Lord, Alan Sugar. Perhaps it was invented by Mr. R. Clause himself. Perhaps ex-Liverpool director Damien Comolli, a relentlessly suspicious character, came up with it.
Either way, the release clause adds an interesting dynamic to the transfer market – a simple-yet-effective method of saying ‘If you want him that badly, this is how much you’ll have to pay. Don’t bother negotiating. I can’t be bothered to sit in a boardroom, sipping coffee and downing croissants, whilst ‘debating it.’
Despite often being extortionate, the Premier League has never shied away from release clauses. So in honour of that fantastic invention, here’s a list of FIVE Liverpool should consider activating in January.
Despite adding Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli to Liverpool’s strike-force during the summer, the tabloids believe Brendan Rodgers is already targeting another centre-forward for the January window, with his priority choice being Napoli star Gonzalo Higuain:
— IndySport (@IndySport) October 1, 2014
But the Serie A side are understandably reluctant to sell, having only signed the Argentine last summer, and his release clause stands at an eye-watering €100million. In other words, one Gareth Bale. Porto front-man Jackson Martinez on the other hand, nicknamed ‘Cha Cha Cha’ for his dancelike grace inside the box…
…has a release clause of just £35million and a strike-rate as potent – if not more so – than Higuain’s.
Indeed, the 28 year-old arrived late to the European game, spending his early career with Independiente Medlin in his native Colombia and Chiapas in Mexico. Since joining the Dragons in 2012 however he’s been absolutely lethal, as shown below:
That’s seen him claim consecutive golden boots in the Primeira Liga. Here’s a look at some of the Colombian international’s best ever strikes:
Jackson’s experience of European football may be limited, but frighteningly quick, stocky and powerful through a 6 foot 1 frame, he’s purpose-built for the Premier League.
If Brendan Rodgers wants a new front-man, Martinez’ release clause strikes good value for money. But he would be wise to wait until the summer, when it apparently drops to just €30million.
Another release-clause-inspired striker option, this one a little closer to home, comes in the form of Swansea City’s Wilfried Bony, who Liverpool allegedly made a £16million bid for during the summer – the exact fee they eventually paid for Mario Balotelli:
— Metro Sport (@Metro_Sport) August 15, 2014
The 25 year-old impressed last season to bag 16 goals and four assists in his inaugural Premier League campaign, following an incredible 37-strike haul during his ultimate year at Vitesse Arnhem. Here’s Bony’s highlights from 2013/14:
And the Ivory Coast international has rediscovered his scoring touch in recent weeks after struggling for form at the start of the season, with two goals in his last two appearances – including this strike against Newcastle:
Liverpool were just £3million short of the 6 foot striker’s £19million release clause, suggesting they could up the ante in January if Bony maintains his impressive Premier League strike-rate. But Swansea are planning to tie their star forward down to a new long-term contract:
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) October 17, 2014
In the absence of Luis Suarez, Liverpool are struggling to rekindle the breakneck-paced attacking play that came to define them last season. Fiorentina star Juan Cuadrado, who is apparently on the verge of weaving an incredibly reasonable £27million release clause into his new contract, provides an intriguing solution:
The Reds aren’t known for their wide-play under Brendan Rodgers but the Colombian international (interestingly, the second in this article) is an absolute road-runner, with endless stamina and a near-unbeatable top speed.
The 26 year-old absolutely destroyed Serie A last season and brought his form to the World Cup:
In fact, nobody bettered his four assists at Brazil 2014, including this knock-down to eventual Golden Ball winner, James Rodriguez:
Combining pace, athleticism, trickery and netting prowess, this goal typifies the South American:
In my opinion, Cuadrado would be a fantastic signing for Liverpool, but Chelsea are currently his likeliest suitors:
It’s no secret that Liverpool’s biggest problems over the last few seasons have all come in defence. As viewable below, they currently have the joint-worst goals conceded record in the Premier League’s top half:
Thus, why not launch a bid for Champions League finalist Miranda? He was one of the best centre-backs in Europe last season and his £24million release clause has already attracted interest from Manchester United:
Manchester United alerted to availability of Atletico Madrid defender Miranda http://t.co/SsFM9mE9B0
— Metro Sport (@Metro_Sport) July 29, 2014
The Brazil international rejected Premier League advances during the summer, after winning the La Liga title with the Mattress Makers last season:
But could have a change of heart in January, with Atleti already plummeting to fifth place in the Spanish table. Here’s a look at Miranda’s stats from last year:
Already 30 years of age, the 6 foot 1 centre-back doesn’t strike great value for money and hardly fits the transfer precedents set by Brendan Rodgers over the last few years.
But part of the exceptionally organised, disciplined and hard-working Diego Simeone side that’s won three major trophies since 2011, there’s no questioning Miranda as a top centre-half, well-schooled in the nuts and bolts of structured defending.
Representing the significantly cheaper end of the release clause spectrum is Barcelona full-back Martin Montoya, at a far more reasonable £16.5million.
Liverpool fans will know the Spaniard well – he’s been linked with an Anfield switch before, particularly in January amid a contract dispute at the Nou Camp:
— Anfield Road (@anfieldroad) January 4, 2014
The 23 year-old comes highly-rated, having impressed as understudy to Dani Alves over the last few seasons, as detailed below:
Montoya’s claimed four assists and one goal in 38 league outings for the Catalans – including this incredible strike against Malaga back in 2013:
Prior exploits with the Spain U21s, claiming back-to-back European Championships in 2011 and 2013, further underline the defender’s pedigree. Liverpool signed a new right-back during the summer, Atletico Madrid loanee Javier Manquillo, but with rumours rife that contract rebel Glen Johnson could be ousted in the new year, another No.2 wouldn’t go amiss on Merseyside. But amid speculation Dani Alves has already agreed a deal to join Manchester United, transfer-embargoed Barcelona will be reluctant to see Montoya leave as well: