The ‘Football Leaks’ revelations have seen a number of odd contract practices thrown up in recent days.
Among the allegations pertaining to Mario Balotelli’s “no red cards” bonus at Liverpool, to Toby Alderweireld’s apparent €30m release clause, comes the revelation that the Anfield side have installed an “anti-Arsenal” clause into the contract of forward Roberto Firmino.
Le Soir specifically state: “Arsenal cannot buy Roberto Firmino for €98m nor for any other higher amount.”
— Get French Football (@GFFN) December 6, 2016
The latest round of leaks comes courtesy of French outlet Le Soir, who allege that Firmino, a £29m signing from Hoffenheim in 2015, has an agreed-upon release clause of £82m (€98m) which when triggered allows him to talk to whichever club activates it – except if that club happens to be Arsenal.
— Kristof Terreur ? (@HLNinEngeland) December 5, 2016
Clearly still raw from the Gunners’ somewhat ludicrous £40m+1 pound offer received for Luis Suárez in 2013, which Arsenal believed was just over the Uruguayan striker’s buyout clause, Liverpool are suitably still irked by this so as to have sought to avoid a repeat of that by removing the possibility of Firmino going to the Emirates for any amount.
Whether Arsenal even have any interest in signing the 25-year-old at any stage is unclear – the report makes no effort to speculate on that – but Liverpool are evidently not even entertaining the risk of that happening.
The Brazilian international took a bit of time to settle into the Premier League last year, but has really come into his own this season. His return of five goals and three assists has been vital in Liverpool’s solid start to the season, and he has now firmly dislodged Daniel Sturridge as Jurgen Klopp’s first choice centre forward.