Liverpool have been told they could have recouped a world record £200m (€227m) for Philippe Coutinho, had they waited until the summer to sell the Brazil international to Barcelona or another interested suitor.
The Reds eventually allowed the 25-year-old to move to the Nou Camp for a fee which could eventually rise to £142m – the second biggest in transfer history behind Neymar, who moved from the Catalan giants to Paris Saint-Germain for £198m last summer.
Barcelona had a handful of bids rejected in the summer before their pursuit finally came to an end earlier this month, as Liverpool caved to the eye-watering sum offered by the La Liga leaders.
But had the Premier League side held on until the end of the campaign, former manager director Christian Purslow believes Liverpool could have taken advantage of a bidding war and demanded an even greater fee for Coutinho.
"It's quite exceptional to see a top team in contention in two important trophies (the Champions League and the FA Cup), and obviously the day-to-day business of making sure you're in the top four," Purslow, who worked at Liverpool between June 2009 and October 2010, told Sky Sports [Liverpool Echo]. "They're all very, very live season challenges Liverpool face.
"To effectively put money in the bank and take a player away - any football expert would say the likelihood of winning the Champions League without him has reduced, the likelihood of coming fourth is reduced, and they have already gone out of the FA Cup - is in pure footballing terms, a gamble.
"Strategy and business is a very artificial separation because this sport centres around what happens on the field. There's no use to Liverpool strategically to consistently not win trophies and, God forbid, not get top four.
"I would have thought the businessmen in the ownership group would not needed to have taken that gamble. I would have expected – if they needed to give the player certainty, that he was going to fulfil his dream and go to Barcelona – then the deal could have been done with either money now with a loan back, or a contract deferred delivery of player and money in May.
"Neither of which, by the way, would have actually been the best way to maximise the value of the player because come the summer.
"This player is a starter for Brazil, playing brilliantly. If Paris St-Germain, Real Madrid and Barcelona are all in for Coutinho on the back of a World Cup, this player may have been £200million. The winners were Barcelona, the losers were Liverpool – other than their bank balance. Fans don't care about bank balances, they care about winning."
With Virgil van Dijk having arrived at Anfield prior to Coutinho's much-hyped exit and a move to bring Naby Keita to Merseyside six months ahead of his scheduled move to Liverpool from RB Leipzig, Jurgen Klopp has resisted reinvesting the money from the sale of ex-Inter Milan man in a direct replacement.
The German will instead wait until the summer to fill the void, after nothing came of rumoured moves for Monaco's Thomas Lemar and Riyad Mahrez of Leicester City.