Liverpool chief: No more overpaid flops
Liverpool have changed the way they hand out player contracts in a bid to avoid a repeat of the lucrative deals handed out to flops such as Joe Cole and Alberto Aquilani.
Managing director Ian Ayre has revealed that new deals are being structured to offer lower basic salaries and more performance-related bonuses.
Aquilani, who was paid an annual salary of more than £5 million, managed only nine Premier League starts in three years after a £20 million move from Roma in 2009, and ended up leaving for Fiorentina in August.
Cole, who is understood to have earned around £6.7 million a year, brought an unimpressive two-and-a-half year stint at Anfield to an end by joining West Ham earlier this month.
With owners Fenway Sports Group looking to get value for money in their transfer dealings, Ayre want to ensure the club are not stung by future contract deals.
He told the Liverpool Echo: "The attitude I'm trying to put forward when we're negotiating with agents is that we want to do a contract which is fair for both sides.
"Fair often means the right amount of reward for a player who delivers. Everyone we bring through the door, we expect to perform and do the best they can. As long as any player does that, they should be rewarded for it.
"I'm not one of those who subscribes to the idea that players are necessarily overpaid. I think they make a huge contribution to the biggest league in the world.
"From the football club's perspective, our view has to be that people are rewarded for contributing towards what we achieve. As long as contracts are structured in that way then everyone wins.
"If a player performs, then he will be rewarded. That's the philosophy of the contracts we are offering and signing."
Ayre admits that getting value for money has been made harder because agents and other clubs know how much Liverpool have been prepared to pay in the past.
"It's a bit of a legacy we have to deal with as agents always seem to know what every player is earning and what every contract structure is," he added.
"But it's not something that's causing us too many problems. It doesn't matter what has gone before, it's about what's happening now.
"We have good relationships with the agents we are dealing with. I've found in the main most agents are prepared to listen and find the best solution for both sides.
"Like any negotiation, if you give someone the opportunity to have it all their own way then they will. That's not going to be the case here.
"We are being open, honest and fair in making it clear that the real reward comes from performance."