Mon. Jul 26th, 2021

The difference between Liverpool and Barcelona’s situations this summer could hardly be starker.

While Barcelona scramble to sell players on mega wages in a desperate bid to reduce their vast amount of debt, needing to get rid of at least a couple of their biggest earners in order to register any of their new signings and star man Lionel Messi, Liverpool are completely calm.

Ibrahima Konate has already arrived at Anfield and is settling into life as a Liverpool player with the rest of his teammates at the club’s Austria training base for pre-season.

The Reds are relaxed about further additions to their squad and will likely need to move on a couple of fringe players before bringing anyone else in, but they have found themselves in a relatively good position.

Several young talents coming through their academy system are in Austria seeking to impress, while some could yet play themselves into proper contention ahead of next season.

Again, though, like with transfers, the situation with their youngsters is different at Liverpool compared to Barcelona.

Such is the Catalan side’s financial position, losing top talents like Pedri, Ilaix Moriba and Ansu Fati could be more plausible this summer than it might seem.

“I don’t think [possible Liverpool interest in Pedri] is a worry for Barcelona, just because of the pull that Barcelona has,” ESPN’s Barcelona correspondent Samuel Marsden told the ECHO on a special Barcelona and Spain edition of the Blood Red podcast.

“But I don’t think [losing one of their top young talents] would be completely out of the question.

“The three that are special – Pedri, Ilaix Moriba and Ansu Fati – are all in negotiations with new contracts but it is a strange situation.

“There is not complete clarity over Ansu – who is now represented by Jorge Mendes – or Pedri’s contracts, so in theory, both of their contracts expire next summer, in 2022.

“Barcelona don’t want to sell any of these guys, but we have spoken repeatedly about their financial problems and their need to get rid of players.

“Speaking completely hypothetically, if a club came in with £100m and they couldn’t sell Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho and they are stuck with them, getting rid of Pedri would not help the wage bill, but it could bring in a big fee.

“We know the situation is bad but we don’t know quite how bad, but it is not completely out of the question as it might have been in the past.”

Contrast that with the situation with Liverpool’s top young starlets.

Just last week, Harvey Elliott signed a new long-term deal ahead of joining up with his Liverpool teammates for pre-season, having come back from a hugely successful loan in the Championship at Blackburn Rovers last season.

“It’s always going to be there throughout the years I’m here and hopefully it’s going to be a long time,” he said.

“There’s always going to be those butterflies whenever you put on the shirt, whenever you go out to train and play, whenever you’re involved in the club there’s always that feeling.

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“Especially for me, being a Red, as well as my family – it’s nice to make them proud and make myself proud. But the hard work carries on.

“It’s always a nice feeling when you sign a new contract, especially for your boyhood club.

“It’s all done and dusted now so I’ve just got to focus on pre-season, get my work in and make sure I’m ready for the season.”

There can be no doubting where Elliott’s short and long-term future lies.

Just like in the transfer market, while Barcelona are panicked into action, Liverpool’s long-term planning is paying off.

Elliott remains a top prospect and could make a significant impact next season – but even if not, the chances of Liverpool losing him permanently are zero.

While Barcelona pay for their recklessness, Liverpool are being rewarded for their patience.

Do you want an exclusive pre-season Liverpool preview – both in your inbox and through your letterbox? Head over here to find out more and secure your copy.

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