Liverpool embarrassed Arsenal with contract clause after controversial transfer bid

Roberto Firmino celebrating a goal
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Liverpool once went to unbelievable lengths to outfox Arsenal in the transfer market.

After being insulted by the Gunners' infamous £40million plus one pound bid for Luis Suarez back in 2013, Liverpool decided to exact a little revenge.

Two years later, after bringing Roberto Firmino on board, the Reds inserted an £89million release clause into his contract. But the clause had one crucial catch: Arsenal couldn't activate it.

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It was revenge, served cold. And it shouldn't have come as much of a surprise given Liverpool owner John Henry's iconic reaction to news of Arsenal's outrageous bid for Suarez. The American tweeted: "What do you think they're smoking over there at the Emirates?"

It later emerged that the cheeky offer was submitted because Arsenal misunderstood Suarez's release clause, believing that £40m plus one pound was enough to open contract negotiations with the striker. In actual fact, a bid north of £40m only contractually forced Liverpool to inform Suarez of the offer, but not to accept it.

Nonetheless, the threat of seeing Suarez playing for a Premier League rival appeared to spook the Reds so much that they went to unorthodox lengths to prevent it from happening in 2014.

Luis Suarez celebrates for Liverpool
Liverpool did everything they could to prevent Luis Suarez from joining Manchester United -Credit:Getty Images

While negotiating the sale of Suarez to Barcelona, Liverpool demanded a clause be inserted into the Uruguayan's contract which banned him from joining Manchester United directly from the Catalan club. The clause even prevented him from signing for the Red Devils when his Barcelona contract expired.

The club seemingly developed a taste for unusual but highly advantageous contract clauses and were at it again when selling Phillipe Coutinho to Barcelona in 2018. The Anfield club negotiated a stipulation which forced Barca to pay hefty premiums on Liverpool players for the next three seasons.

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The clause stated that the La Liga giants would have to pay £89m on top of whatever sum Liverpool deemed fair for the player in questions, which effectively prevented Barcelona from raiding any more of their top talents.