Astronomical agent fees show how much pressure Jurgen Klopp is under to win the title

Andy Dillon by Andy Dillon / 05 April 2019, 11:55

Life’s good if you’re an agent flogging players to Liverpool or Chelsea.

Jurgen Klopp’s title-chasing reds spent a whopping £43 million on middle-man fees over the past year. But then winning the Premier League takes some doing.

Chelsea were next but a long way with almost £27 million splashed out on intermediaries to help them sign players like Mateo Kovacic, Gonzalo Higuain and to help them dump flops like striker Alvaro Morata.

Seeing the grand total totted up to £261 million makes for fascinating reading as the spiral of cash splurged on the player brokers who make the deals between clubs spirals ever upwards.

That would have been enough to buy an entire team of Nicolas Anelkas after his transfer from Arsenal to Real Madrid 20 years ago.

Now it is the commission alone paid to the people who put interested parties together and who don’t even kick a ball.

What these astronomical numbers also show is that as well as the huge investment required to equip a modern day club for an assault on the league title - it also shows how much pressure the manager is under to make it pay dividends.

The Fenway Sports Group who own Liverpool want bang for their bucks. And Klopp is the man upon whose shoulders it rests to deliver that.

Klopp probably did not know the exact figures involved but now that he does the German is under no illusions of what he is expected to do to get a return on the investment.


Interestingly, at the other end of the scale is Alfreton Town of the National League.

The Derbyshire club shelled out a whopping £500 on agents fees in the 12 months from January 2018 - draining football dry of precious resources!

It’s just as remarkable to picture one club spending so little on securing a deal. Immediately you want to know who is the player they pushed the boat out for?

Their league rivals South Shields were the same. Just five hundred quid paid on services to sign players.

If you’re an agent in Alfreton or up in the North East near South Shields then the private yacht may just have to go on hold for a while.

While it is captivating and amusing to see the contrast between what the big boys pay and the little fish it also rams home yet again the worrying and growing chasm of wealth between the top and the bottom teams.

As we have now come to expect, the agents of top players like Mo Salah and Virgil van Dijk are coining it in when really their job is limited.

Liverpool do not need agents or top talent scouts to alert them to possible signings. Clubs in the Premier League top six tend to go for already well known faces; they shoehorn established players out of smaller clubs. They do not suddenly unearth a gem and put him in the team to surprise us all.

It is down at Alfreton Town’s level where that happens and where agents can be most useful.

At the summit of football the middle men command auctions between seriously big footballing institutions for their clients and watch the cash roll in.

Alfreton Town, if they had a bit more money, could probably afford a little more on agents’ fees to give their side a bigger boost and maybe set another promising talent on the road to bigger things ultimately.

Premier League clubs spent more than five times the amount laid out in the next tier of English football which was £50m in the Championship.

Are those Premier League players better? Yes. Five times better? No.

There is now a growing call for caps to be placed on the amounts clubs can pay to agents. No doubt the biggest of the Premier League teams will oppose it because their financial muscle helps them to make football anything but a level playing field.


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Dean Keates
Dean Keates
6th April