Liverpool face a tough decision on the future of Rhian Brewster and it’s one that could shape their season. Teams reportedly line up for the 20-year-old.
The BBC claims at least six Premier League clubs want Brewster on loan for next season. They name Aston Villa, Brighton, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Fulham and Newcastle United but suggest even more would quite like to add him to their squads.
And it’s no real surprise. Brewster scored 11 goals over the second half of the season last year. Those goals came in the Championship, of course, but his spell with Swansea was the first true senior football of his career.
It’s a test he passed with flying colours. Enough so, in fact, that we think he could play a role for Liverpool next season. But keeping Brewster isn’t that simple.
Brewster staying would almost certainly change Liverpool’s transfer plans. They wouldn’t chase a forward, for one – be it on the wing or as a striker. It’s a decision that could even force Divock Origi out if he wants to play at Euro 2021.
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So the easy option is to loan him out. That keeps the squad as it is and allows Brewster some valuable Premier League experience. Find the right club and he could progress rapidly.
Then in a year’s time, Brewster can take his place in the squad when we expect a rebuild to happen.
This is the comfortable way to do things but it comes with some risks.
There’s the obvious one – loan Brewster out to the wrong club and his progress stalls. We saw both sides of the coin with Harry Wilson last season, in fact. He scored seven for Bournemouth over the first half and everything looked rosy.
He struggled after January, though, and didn’t manage more than 45 minutes after the restart. Suddenly, he doesn’t command quite the reputation that Liverpool hoped for.
A season-long loan like that could hamper Brewster. It could make him harder to sell, if that’s the long-term plan, but it could also just curb his development.
The other risk is for next season and Liverpool’s lack of firepower. Origi is Liverpool’s primary backup for the usual front-three but he only scored four Premier League goals last year. Only one came in 2020 – the last day of the season.
Brewster offers an alternative goalscorer. If Liverpool loan him away and Origi has another stuttering campaign, things could get difficult.
The Reds survived the season without any major injuries to their front-three. If they had been out for an extended period of time, Origi would have come in – and he doesn’t offer consistent goals.
Liverpool have a chance to ease the pressure by deciding Brewster has an immediate future at Anfield. Loan him out and they’re taking quite a risk.