The future of Mathieu Valbuena continues to cause confusion. Sevilla are the latest team to drop out of the race, which leaves the door open for Liverpool, West Ham United and various other European clubs to jump back in for the Marseille midfielder.
After it was announced that Valbuena was close to completing a move to Sevilla, president Ramon Monchi has revealed that the diminutive midfielder’s salary demands were too high for the Andalusian club's budget.
It is estimated that Valbuena is looking for €3million a year. That works out at £2.3million, roughly £50,000 per week – an amount that is not exactly a top wage for any Premier League club these days.
Valbuena is 29, but with that he brings a wealth of experience of playing in a top division and competing in the Champions League for Marseille. He was also France’s best player at the 2014 World Cup, and has at least three years left at the top level.
His wages would be on the same level as Rickie Lambert, three years Valbuena’s senior, and with the midfielder available for only €8million, it translates to a very low risk, but intelligent signing.
Liverpool fans may think he is too old, but he brings that extra level of experience that many of the current squad don’t possess. Players like Philippe Coutinho, Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling could benefit from his wealth of knowledge on the game.
Valbuena may be too expensive for Spanish clubs, but for any Premier League club it’s a cost they can afford, plus he is a signing you make for more than just his abilities on the pitch.
West Ham are looking for a player to change their style of play. They want someone who can guide this team away from mid-table and launch them towards a place in the Europa League. Valbuena may have his sights set higher than a club like the Hammers, but it could be a move that would see him become a star in London, rather than a useful squad player at Liverpool.
It all depends on what Valbuena wants from his final move. He will be enticed by Liverpool’s place in the Champions League, that would be his overall goal, but the chance to be the star at a smaller club may be something he could be convinced of.