Dave Davis examines what Liverpool’s summer transfer business will mean for the club’s academy prospects.
It’s safe to say that Liverpool fans are on edge right now as Twitter exploded with talk of Virgil Van Dijk coming to Anfield before any chance of a move was ruled out by Southampton reporting the club to the Premier League for “tapping up.”
Despite talk of new signings coming in, one thought that maybe going under the radar though is what it could mean for certain youngsters.
Trent Alexander-Arnold seems nailed on to be a part of Jürgen Klopp’s next season and many see him challenging Nathaniel Clyne for a starting spot. The West Derby youngster has impressed many at Melwood with coaches and former players keen to praise him.
Looking at the youngsters in the attacking positions though, it may be a different story.
If Mohamed Salah were to join Solanke, then the competition for those positions becomes fierce, to say the least. Even with Coutinho dropping back into midfield, it’s difficult to see how the likes of Wilson, Kent, Ojo or even Woodburn are going to really push through next season.
Before any departures, they’ll be up against Firmino, Mané, Salah, Solanke, Sturridge, Ings and Origi. That’s excluding the inevitable departure of Markovic and any other additions.
Sturridge seems to be many people’s favourites for an Anfield exit but with a Champions League campaign to navigate, it’s not that straightforward. If the England striker is to go, then Klopp will replace him without doubt and the likes of Dolberg and Lacazette have been mooted as potential targets.
Neither of those would come in to play a few league cup games and make the odd league appearance. Klopp may even decide to keep Sturridge if he believes he could get thirty games or so out of him. That’s a big if though.
The U23s have been impressive in recent times, but you do wonder if that’s enough to ensure they’ll develop at the rate required.
Wilson and Woodburn appear to be regular Wales squad members and many Championship teams or even Premier League sides would surely fancy taking them for a year. Ojo has been linked with a move to Newcastle and Kent returns after impressing on a loan spell at Barnsley.
There’s a lot to still be confirmed and there will be a good few Melwood leans before the window slams shut.
Everyone at Anfield wants to see a successful academy and youngsters coming through to the first team, but how many moaned about the lack of stars on the bench last season?
Don’t be surprised if there are a few youngsters departing on a temporary or permanent basis this summer though. It may be best for all parties.