Hull City boss Marco Silva has admitted that the sale of Jake Livermore was crucial in order to raise funds for further incoming signings. The 27-year-old midfielder joined West Bromwich Albion on a four-and-a-half year contract on Friday (20 January) in a deal believed to be worth in the region of £10m ($12.3m).
With 18th-place Hull embroiled in a relegation dogfight ahead of a daunting trip to Chelsea, the mid-season departure of an influential player who is yet to miss a Premier League match in 2016-17 has understandably caused no shortage of consternation among supporters.
Vice-chairman Ehab Allam insisted earlier this week that the Tigers had "no appetite to sell" players amid concerns over weakening the team during their battle for survival, although it appears that Livermore's exit was a necessity in order to help Silva bring in more new faces after the permanent signing of former loanee Markus Henriksen and the arrivals of Evandro, Oumar Niasse and Omar Elabdellaoui.
"It's never good when you lose an important player, but the player had a very good proposal for him," Silva said in his latest press conference. "The club have a good proposal also...It is football. What we need in this moment is to find a quick replacement for the player. We need to find this in the next [few] days because we lose one important player."
When asked if it was important to generate extra cash, he added: "Yes, it's important because we have our budget and you know it's not a big budget to find the best solutions....You try to find the best solutions and I'm sure we need to continue to improve our squad."
With Livermore gone, Hull fans will fear that Robert Snodgrass might be the next key performer sold to the highest bidder. The Guardian report that there have been no further bids for the Scottish international since West Ham United failed with a £7.5m offer last week, but Burnley, Watford, Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Sunderland are all said to have expressed an interest in his services. Snodgrass is also believed to have turned down lucrative switches to China and Turkey in recent weeks.
"Until now, I don't have news about Snodgrass," Silva told reporters. "He didn't train with us in the last days because he has problems in the muscle, but only this. We'll see if it's possible for him to play or not in the next game. About transfers, nothing."
Snodgrass is doubtful to face Chelsea due to that muscle issue, although David Meyler could return after missing last week's impressive 3-1 comeback win over Bournemouth. Shaun Maloney, Alex Bruce, Greg Luer, Will Keane, Henriksen, Moses Odubajo and Brian Lenihan all remain in the treatment room.
One player who is available to feature against Antonio Conte's leaders at Stamford Bridge is Elabdellaoui. The former Manchester City full-back, who previously worked with Silva at parent club Olympiacos, has now completed his move to Hull on a loan deal that is set to last until the end of the season.
"We haven't been able to play with a natural right back since I arrived here and so it is a position we needed to find a solution for," Silva said. "Omar is a player I know and he has come here to help improve our squad."