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Transfer Talk? Liverpool C.E.O. Says That’s Not His Business


Instead, Moore outlined the recruitment structure that Liverpool has put in place, the one that has proved successful in returning Liverpool to the pinnacle of soccer in England — where it sits first in the Premier League heading into Sunday’s showdown against Manchester City — and in Europe, where its victory over Tottenham in the Champions League final last spring delivered the club’s sixth European Cup.

When Liverpool wants to discuss potential signings, a group composed of the team’s respected German manager, Jürgen Klopp; the sporting director, Michael Edwards; and the senior scouts Dave Fallows and Barry Hunter gathers at Melwood, Liverpool’s training facility. After identifying a short list of targets, Edwards calls Michael Gordon, the president of Fenway Sports Group, which owns Liverpool. It is Gordon, not Moore, who has Liverpool’s direct line to F.S.G.’s principal owner, John W. Henry, who controls the purse strings on major financial decisions, be they player acquisitions or anything else.

“I don’t know nor do I need to know who we are looking at,” Moore said of being out of the loop on potential transfers. “I need to know whether we’re going to get the next sponsorship deal that we’re looking for. I need to know whether our relationship with Liverpool City Council is on a good footing so we continue to build the commercial elements of things. I need to know whether our community teams are taking care of the people of Liverpool. I need to know whether our legal, H.R., comms teams are doing well. I run the business.”

So far, that hands-off structure has worked. At the same time the team’s recruitment strategy has turned Liverpool into European champions, the club has been able to develop its Anfield stadium and sign new commercial partners. Moore’s former employer, Electronic Arts, recently signed on as a global partner, one of four major companies to agree to deals with Liverpool since it lifted the European Cup in June.

A bonus for Moore is that being out of the fray when it comes to transfers also keeps him out of the critics’ firing line — a bit of distance that not all of his peers are afforded. At Manchester City, for example, the chief executive, Ferran Soriano, is often criticized for a seemingly unlimited budget that has driven up prices for players across the board. At Tottenham, the chairman, Daniel Levy, is sometimes maligned as much for the moves he doesn’t make as the ones he does. And at Manchester United, much of the past year has been devoted to raining criticism on Ed Woodward, the former investment banker whose tenure has coincided with not only a fall from the Premier League’s mountaintop, but also the spending of hundreds of millions of dollars to buy out one transfer mistake after another.


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