Merseyside Police have responded to a complaint by the Mayor of Liverpool over Ross Barkley’s transfer to Chelsea from Everton last week.
Joe Anderson, a lifelong Toffees fan, wrote to the force following the completion of the England international’s £15 million move to Stamford Bridge, urging them to investigate whether any “fraud” over the transfer had occurred.
In a letter to Merseyside Police along with the FA and Premier League chairmen, Anderson referenced the Blues’ aborted £35 million bid for the 24-year-old last summer, claiming that Barkley had seen a decrease in value of “more than £1 million a week” despite not playing a single minute of football this season.
Barkley move ‘a very poor deal’ for Everton
“At best, this represents a very poor deal for Everton Football Club,” the Labour Party politician wrote. “At worst, it could be seen as a deliberate attempt to drive down a player’s value in the transfer market so as to benefit the player, his agent and the buying club.”
Today, however, the force’s Assistant Chief Constable, Serena Kennedy, has reportedly responded to the mayor’s initial correspondence, telling him that “there is no evidence a criminal offence has occurred”. Merseyside Police did, however, state that they had written to the FA and Premier League and asked them to report any relevant findings should they hold their own investigations into the matter.
Not everyone believes that Anderson’s penning of the letter was an appropriate use of his position as Mayor of Liverpool, especially considering it was written on stationery carrying the official mayoral letterhead. Fans took to Twitter this week to debate the issue, with some going as far as to suggest he should have been charged with wasting police time.
Hi @MerseyPolice & @lpoolcouncil , i'd be interested in knowing are you going to charge @mayor_anderson with wasting not only police time, but Council Tax payers time as Mayor of Liverpool with this ridiculous investigation into the Ross Barkley transfer? #efc #cfc
— SinbadBrookie (@SinbadBrookie) January 16, 2018
However, Anderson purportedly told the Echo that he had written the note in his personal time and “as a football fan”, with the purpose being “for people, including the Football Association, to have a debate about this issue”.
Everton, Chelsea, the FA and the Premier League are all yet to publicly comment on the furore, but hopefully the police response to the accusations of “fraud” will now put rest to any negative press surrounding Barkley’s move to west London.