Liverpool: Jamie Carragher admits he is surprised by reports that Fenway Sports Group is considering selling the club

Liverpool: Jamie Carragher admits he is surprised by reports that Fenway Sports Group is considering selling the club

Jamie Carragher admits he is surprised Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group are considering selling the club, but Gary Neville believes it is time to walk away.

FSG is working with two US banks to see how much the club is worth – and City insiders believe it could be as much as $5bn (£4.4bn).

A report on Monday suggested that the US owners had drawn up a sale package and that investment banks Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were helping the evaluation process.

FSG admits it is open to accepting new shareholders but has not gone so far as to say the club as a whole is on the market, although it has not definitively ruled it out.

Speaking of the latest episode of The overlap, Carragher said: “I can imagine there is something in it. How strong it is in terms of selling outright or trying to get money into the club I’m not sure. I think FSG have done a good job at the club , and I don’t think they have ever proclaimed that they have money from Manchester United, Chelsea or Manchester City.

“They were the owners who brought back the title, the owners who brought in Jurgen Klopp, the stadium has been transformed, the training ground has been transformed. They have almost been a model for clubs like Arsenal.

“I’m surprised. Will the club ever be valued as highly as it is right now again? With Klopp as manager and the team being so successful in recent years? Maybe there’s something in that.

City insiders believe Liverpool could be worth as much as £4.4bn

“I just thought that with so many American owners coming into the league, I thought there was a power play in some way where they could see something in the future given what we’ve seen in American sports, so I thought the owners would be here for a while.

“Maybe they woke up on Monday morning and read about how much Manchester City have made commercially and thought ‘you can’t stop it, can you?!'”

FSG, who bought the club in a deal worth around £300m in October 2010, are believed to be considering a sale although they would prefer to attract new investors by selling a minority stake.

They have asked Goldmann Sachs and Morgan Stanley to gauge the buyer’s interest and the banks are expected to hear from any of the shortlisted bidders who missed out on buying Chelsea are interested in investing in Liverpool.

Pressure has mounted on FSG, led by principal owner John W Henry, this season as indifferent results have left Liverpool well behind their Premier League rivals.

Only last month, Klopp spoke of the difficulties of keeping pace with Manchester City, admitting the club could not compete with their financial might and had to find other ways to stay connected.

FSG has not been averse to seeking additional resources and in April last year, to reduce losses due to Covid, it sold a 10% stake to RedBird, a private investment firm, for £533m.

But this season the owners have been criticized for a lack of investment in the squad this summer.

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Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders insists the club’s owners have made big decisions to push things forward, and amid speculation the team is fully focused on their Carabao Cup tie with Derby.

Earlier this year, Russian Roman Abramovich completed the sale of Chelsea to an investment group led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital in a deal advised by Goldmann Sachs that put the total takeover value at £4.25bn.

Neville told The overlap: “I said about Manchester United four or five months ago that they have to sell partly because they need the money to do things that Liverpool have done – like transforming the training ground and the stadium.

“But also that the Chelsea valuation will only last for potentially 18 months to two years before people realize that Chelsea are actually not making a profit, and therefore these US investment funds will get the money from.

“I think the Liverpool sale makes sense – FSG don’t have the money to compete with the other top teams in the league, they’ve already developed the stadium, they have Jurgen Klopp and it’s now a question of how long will he stay for two or three years?

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Football finance expert Kieran Maguire claims Fenway Sports Group could earn up to 14 times the return on their investment in Liverpool if they decide to sell the club.

“If the Chelsea sale right now is determining the valuation, FSG think it’s time for us to potentially get out now, because if we go down the league, if people think Boehly has overpaid at Chelsea, and it becomes a bit more of a struggle in the coming years, they may think that now is the right time.

“I think the Glazer family will be in a similar situation. I suspect both will be looking for outs or part-outs. With the Glazers I think a couple of them will want to stay, but with FSG I think they put a £3 to £4 billion valuation on Liverpool as they raised some cash from Covid.

“They could probably get it right now but they might not be able to get it in two years’ time. They really can’t compete financially with some of the other clubs in the league so I don’t think it’s that big of a surprise when you look at some of the evidence.

“The question will always be – as it did with the Glazer family at Manchester United – who will buy it next? It will either be a more aggressive, wealthy American investment fund or it will be a sovereign wealth fund or a government.”

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