Saturday, December 15 – 1990
Liverpool are ready to make John Barnes Britain’s highest-paid player by offering him a staggering £8,000-a-week to stay at Anfield. Chairman Noel White and manager Kenny Dalglish were in a top Anfield delegation which met Barnes and his representative Jon Holmes on Thursday.
And 27-year-old England star Barnes said last night: “I’m having discussions. I’ve been upstairs to talk to them but nothing further than that yet.”
Said White: “I can confirm that negotiations are in progress.”
Liverpool have placed a variety of options on the table to keep prize asset Barnes, who they value at £5 million-plus and whose contract expires at the end of the season.
Ideally, they would like Barnes to sign a new long-term deal. But hey are prepared even to agree a new one-year contract, possibly worth £400,000, to bolster their ambition of challenging for their fifth European Cup triumph next season.
The Barnes deal would give him almost £2,000-a-week more than Gary Lineker, previously regarded as Britain’s best paid footballer and would dwarf the £5,000 weekly pay package of his boss Daglish and Arsenal’s George Graham.
The champions have already rebuffed moves for Barnes by Real Madrid, Genoa and Marseilles.
With the prospect of their long-awaited return to Europe beckoning next season Liverpool see Barnes as a crucial figure. If their post-Heysel ban is lifted Liverpool’s team selection will be hampered by UEFA’s stringent new regulation permitting only four foreigners in a 16 man European squad.
And UEFA will classify Scots, Irish and Welsh players, who fill starring roles at Liverpool as foreigners. That makes it even more imperative for Liverpool to hold on to the talent of Barnes.
(Daily Express, 15-12-1990)