Paul Stafford has taken a look at the players Liverpool FC could well do with pursuing after impressing at this summer’s youth tournaments!
With all the attention of late focused on Liverpool’s recent blunders in the transfer market – in particular the Virgil Van Dijk debacle and their unwillingness to meet Roma’s valuation of Mohamed Salah – the time may be right to shift attention to scouting young players for the future.
The U20 World Cup and the Toulon Tournament have provided an opportunity for clubs’ scouting networks to evaluate young players for the future and possibly bid on them in the upcoming transfer window. There are several players who Liverpool would do well to take a closer look at.
The standout performer of this summer’s two youth tournaments so far has to be the player whom Liverpool has just signed: Dominic Solanke. He looks to be the real deal, folks!
Enough of him has been seen to realise what a good signing he actually is and it wouldn’t be unrealistic to believe that he is good enough to go straight into the first team. He is that good! His performance against Italy in the semi-final of the U20 World Cup showed the world what he is capable of and Liverpool fans should be excited.
Dominic Solanke makes the perfect understudy to Daniel Sturridge. He is big and strong with excellent vision and positioning traits. He’s only improved as the tournament has gone on and his brace against Italy will have Jürgen Klopp licking his lips at the prospect of another attacking threat.
There are three players from the opposing team that England played in the final worth mentioning: Ronaldo Pena, Adalberto Penaranda and Yeferson Soteldo.
First up is centre-forward Ronaldo Pena who opened his scoring account in the 2-0 route of Germany. 20-year-old Pena plays for Las Palmas Atletico in Venezuela. He is valued at only €200,000 and would be a bargain at any club for that price. He is pacy, strong and his hold up technique and positioning prowess are excellent.
Yeferson Soteldo is an attacking midfielder/playmaker who is just 19 years old. He plys his trade in Chile for a club called Huachipato. He is the quintessential number 10 with excellent vision and dribbling skills. His distribution of the ball is outstanding and is value for money at only €1m.
The only problem with this excellent player is that he is very short and slight of build. He probably wouldn’t be able to handle the rigours of the English Premier League but could do well in Spain or Italy.
The pick of the three would have to be bleached-blonde Malaga centre-forward, Adalberto Penaranda. At just 20 years of age, Penaranda has already played in the Premier League on loan to Watford, so he is already used to the physicality of the league. He usually plays as a centre-forward, however, Venezuela seem to be using him as a central midfielder, behind the strikers. It has paid dividends as he scored two goals in the tournament.
He is a big, strong lad and his physicality is his greatest attribute. Valued at €3 million, he could go straight into the first team and improve it. His hold up play is brilliant and this boy can shoot!
The next two players to look at from this tournament hail from Italy and the United States respectively.
Italian right-winger Riccardo Orsolini scored the only goal for Italy in their 1-3 loss to England in the semi-final of the U20 World Cup in Korea. It was a well-struck bullet of a shot.
His attributes made him a handful for England’s defenders as well as all other opposing defenders throughout the tournament. 20-year-old Orsolini, who is on loan to Juventus from Ascoli in the Italian Serie B, is valued at just €3.50 million and well worth it. The Reds could certainly use his talents, but he probably wouldn’t get straight into the team.
American centre-forward Joshua Sargent came on like a juggernaut and really took the tournament by storm, becoming one of its top scorers.
At just 18 years of age, Sargent doesn’t even play at the professional level. He plays for college team St Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri and if somebody doesn’t snap him up, he will most likely end up in the MLS.
Joshua Sargent always seems to be at the right place and time to score that vital goal to keep his team in the tournament. He had pace and excellent positioning skills, turning up at the far post to score. He would be an excellent addition to Liverpool’s youth ranks and a much better player than Brooks Lennon.
The stand out player from the Toulon Tournament is Scotland’s Oliver Burke. He scored a brace against the Czech Republic and was a handful against Brazil, however, he was suffering from a foot injury by the time they played England in the semi-final.
Burke has pace and strength and would be an ideal candidate for Jürgen Klopp’s Reds. Nottingham Forest must have been really desperate to let him go to RB Leipzig for just £13m! He is definitely a player that would galvanise any team’s strike force and Liverpool would do well to keep tabs on him.
They did show an interest in him while he was at Forest, but they dragged their heels in typical FSG fashion! It is no coincidence that when he left, Nottingham Forest were nearly relegated.
So there you have it, folks! There are other things to think about as FSG once again blunder in the summer transfer market.