Transfer swap and $61m deals should offer Liverpool transfer hint ahead of big Arne Slot summer

Arne Slot during his first interview as Liverpool head coach.
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Even though the group stages of the European Championship are yet to conclude and the Copa America has only just begun, the summer transfer market is starting to ease into action.

It is not quite as active as it was this time a year ago — Alexis Mac Allister had already been a Liverpool player for more than a fortnight on this day in 2023 and Dominik Szoboszlai's arrival was just around the corner — but things are starting to move. With FFP/PSR now a genuine concern for many clubs, though, things have been a little tentative.

This week, Lewis Dobbin moved from Everton to Aston Villa for a fee of around $11.4m (£9.0m/€10.7m) while Tim Iroegbunam moved the other way for a very similar sum, conveniently opening up some FFP/PSR room for both clubs.

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Both players are homegrown, meaning that they go onto the books as 'pure profit', while the fee each side has paid is spread across the duration of their contract (known as amortization). Aston Villa and Chelsea could do something similar with Jhon Duran and Conor Gallagher, further freeing up spending room.

Regardless of whether this so-called loophole is being exploited or whether it should be stamped out, there is — later than many expected — something of a watermark for transfer valuations being made.

Taylor Harwood Bellis has already moved to Southampton for a fee of $25m (£20m/€24m), while Lewis Hall has joined Newcastle United for $36m (£28m/€33m). Liverpool can learn plenty from each.

Those deals should only embolden the Reds when it comes to their own valuations of players. Caoimhin Kelleher, for instance, even should he push for a move away in search of more regular game time, will not be allowed to leave on the cheap. He should command at least as high a fee as Chelsea got for inexperienced left-back Hall and arguably substantially more, albeit they play in two very different positions.

Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher
Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher -Credit:Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images

Tyler Morton is wanted by several sides around Europe but if Harwood Bellis is worth $25m, then the 21-year-old Liverpool midfielder, who has spent two excellent seasons in the Championship, should be valued at least as highly. Fabio Carvalho probably falls into the same category, though he struggled for minutes with RB Leipzig in the first half of the last campaign.

Even though we are yet to see the benchmark emerge for a real big-money deal at the top end of the transfer market this summer, amid Barcelona interest in Luis Diaz, bit-part Aston Villa striker and fellow Colombian Duran being valued at around $51m (£40m/€47m) (according to The Guardian) suggests the winger should be pitched considerably higher.

Until now, Liverpool and the rest of the calculated and sensible teams around Europe had nothing to gauge where the market stood at this summer. As things start to move into place, though, the opportunities to spot good value and ensure you don't get ripped off should become clearer.

Liverpool needs to make additions this summer — ideally at center-back, in holding midfield, and on the right wing — but it often takes one domino to fall before the rest can follow. It seems as if the first push might have begun paving the way for the rest.