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Liverpool linked with Ajax prodigy Ryan Gravenberch

Liverpool are monitoring Ajax youngster Ryan Gravenberch, The Mirror reports.

Gravenberch, 18, has recently burst onto the scene at Ajax as a first-team regular having stepped up to the mark since Donny van de Beek’s transfer to Manchester United last month.

The teenager started against Jurgen Klopp’s Reds during the 1-0 defeat to Liverpool at the Johan Cruyff Arena over a week ago.

He also started for the Dutch club against Atalanta during the 2-2- draw in midweek, his sixth appearance of the season.

Gravenberch has two assists so far and ranks inside the top seven players for Ajax this season for each category of tackles, interceptions, and key passes.

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Ajax’s Dutch midfielder Ryan Gravenberch kicks the ball during the UEFA Champions League Group D first-leg football match between Ajax Amsterdam and Liverpool FC at the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam on October 21, 2020. (Photo by Kenzo Tribouillard / AFP) (Photo by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images)

He also made the shortlist of the final 20 players for this year’s Golden Boy award along with Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho and Alphonse Davies.

 

Liverpool’s interest in Gravenberch is warranted given his age and undeniable potential – yet there are complications that make such a deal difficult to see materialising.

How likely is a deal?

The quick answer? Not very likely at all. Gravenberch recently extended his contract with Ajax in June, to run through until 2023.

It does not fit with the club’s model and key principles to sell their top young players at such an early stage if it can be prevented, and given his new deal, Ajax are in no immediate position to sell.

Ajax like to see their academy prospects make a serious contribution to the first team before selling, believing that they are best staying put until the club deem they have earnt the right to move to another team.

This was certainly the case with Van de Beek, who has struggled to make an immediate impact at Old Trafford.

Ajax will certainly echo this example towards Gravenberch with Manchester United, Barcelona and Juventus also interested in securing the services of the young talent.

The club have made exceptions in the past when it comes to parting ways with their most lucrative assets. Former club-captain Matthijs de Ligt was sold at 19 after he helped inspire Ajax to a league title as well as a Champions League semi-final finish. It is also worth noting he left for a club-record fee to join Juventus in 2019.

Davinson Sanchez was also sold to Tottenham after just one season in Amsterdam, for a handsome profit. One of the reasons Ajax were so open for the Colombia international to leave the club is that he was not a byproduct of the club’s academy system.

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS – OCTOBER 21: (L-R) Ryan Gravenberch of Ajax, Georginio Wijnaldum of Liverpool during the UEFA Champions League match between Ajax v Liverpool at the Johan Cruijff Arena on October 21, 2020 in Amsterdam Netherlands (Photo by Rico Brouwer/Soccrates/Getty Images)

With that said, Ajax will feel Gravenberch still has plenty to offer them for the time being making it difficult for Liverpool supporters to get excited in regards to a potential deal.

It is encouraging to see that Liverpool are being touted among some of Europe’s biggest clubs as in the market for some of the continent’s best up-and-coming players.

Sadly, this isn’t a move we expect to receive much traction in the coming weeks.

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