Liverpool: Jamie Carragher admits surprise at reports Fenway Sports Group are considering selling the club | Football News

Jamie Carragher admits he is surprised that Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group are considering selling the club, but Gary Neville believes now could well be the time to step away.    

FSG are 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 the American-based owners had produced a sales deck and investment banks Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were assisting the evaluation process.

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

Speaking on the latest episode of The Overlap, Carragher said: “I’d imagine there’s something in it. How strong it is in terms of selling fully or trying to bring money into the club, I’m not sure. I think FSG have done a great job at the club, and I don’t think they’ve ever proclaimed to have the funds of Manchester United, Chelsea or Manchester City.

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

“I am surprised. Will the club ever be valued as highly as it is right now again? With Klopp as the manager and the team having been so successful over the last few years? Maybe there’s something in that.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MARCH 24: The Shankly Gates saying 'You'll Never Walk Alone' outside Anfield Stadium, home of Liverpool FC on March 24, 2022 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)
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 ways 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 about £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 buyer interest and the banks are expected to sound out whether some of the shortlisted bidders who missed out on buying Chelsea are interested in investing in Liverpool.

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

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

FSG has not been adverse to seeking additional resources and in April last year, to help mitigate losses due to Covid, it sold a 10 per cent stake to RedBird, a private investment firm, for £533m.

But this season the owners have been criticised 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 great decisions to push things forward, and in light of speculation, the team are 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 placing the overall 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 cash to do the stuff that Liverpool have done – such as transforming the training ground and the stadium.

“But also, that Chelsea valuation is only going to last for potentially 18 months to two years before people realise that Chelsea actually aren’t making profit, and therefore where are these American investment funds going to be getting the money from.

“I think the Liverpool sale makes sense – FSG haven’t got the money to compete with the other top teams in the league, they’ve already developed the stadium, they’ve got Jurgen Klopp and it’s now a case of for how long is he going to be around for? Two or three years?

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

“If the Chelsea sale at this moment in time sets the valuation, FSG are thinking that now is the time for us to potentially get out because if we dip down the league, if people think Boehly has overpaid at Chelsea, and it becomes a bit more of a struggle over the next couple of years, they may be thinking 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 in, but with FSG I think they put a £3bn to £4bn valuation on Liverpool when they raised some money coming out of Covid.

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

“The question always comes – as it did with the Glazer family at Manchester United – who buys it next? It’s either going to be a more aggressive, wealthy American investment fund or it’s going to be a sovereign wealth fund or a state-nation.”

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