Roberto Firmino’s big-money move to Liverpool is at the centre of a third-party riddle.
The Brazil striker, 25, joined the Reds from Hoffenheim in the summer of 2015 in a £29million deal.
But, according to Football Leaks: The Dirty Business of Football, it is claimed only £5.8m of the fee went to the Bundesliga side, with £23.2m going to Hoffenheim owner Dietmar Hopp’s company Transfair.
It is also alleged that just days later Hopp withdrew from his business interests in that company.
The latest revelations come just 24 hours after Fifa announced they had launched an investigation into Paul Pogba’s world-record £89m transfer from Juventus to Manchester United last summer. However, there is no suggestion that Liverpool were guilty of any wrongdoing.
And Fifa may want to look at Firmino’s move, if they deem anything suspicious.
But Firmino’s transfer came with a series of incredible bonus deals agreed by Liverpool.
Since the Brazilian forward moved to Merseyside, he has earned more than £1.1m in bonuses.
Firmino, who is on a basic wage of £68,085 a week, has a tiered goal-scoring bonus structure.
His first five goals in a season net him £25,000, goals six to ten £45,000 and 11-15 £65,000.
So far, his 12 goals this season have landed him £580,000 in goal bonuses but that will increase to £85,000 a goal if he passes 16 strikes.
He has also banked £190,000 for his six assists.
Meanwhile, it has emerged United ignored Fifa recommendations about the size of payments to agents in order to land Pogba.
The world body suggests, in its regulations, that agents should be paid no more than three per cent of a player’s income.
And they are forbidden to have “any interest in any transfer compensation or future transfer value of a player”.
Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola banked £22.8m from Juventus alone, plus £16.39m from the Red Devils.
But that was part of a deal he signed with the Italian club in 2012, before Fifa rules were tightened two years ago.
And sceptics are accusing Fifa of using their Pogba inquiry as a smokescreen.
They believe the governing body are trying to divert attention away from the decision to sack head of ethics chiefs Hans-Joachim Eckert and Cornel Borbely.
Football Leaks: The Dirty Business of Football, by Rafael Buschmann and Michael Wurzinger is published today by Der Spiegel.