Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster plan became a little less certain on Saturday. This wasn’t how things were supposed to go.
The plan was for Rhian Brewster to go to Sheffield United, a top-half Premier League club with an interesting playing style. That’s why Liverpool sold the player for £23.5m with a buyback clause.
Brewster would get games at a club they trusted, develop properly and then become a top player. Liverpool could look at him and decide whether to bring him back. It worked for them as they couldn’t guarantee the necessary game time at Anfield to develop him themselves.
It’s better than a loan deal, for example. The ‘new’ club in that scenario doesn’t have any investment in a player’s long-term future. They don’t really care if he develops into a top talent – they want him for the here and now.
But with the buyback clause, Liverpool effectively made sure Sheffield United had to develop Brewster. Unfortunately, things went bad quite fast.
The Blades have been awful this season and are almost certainly going to be relegated. Brewster hasn’t played well, either, failing to score a single goal in 22 appearances.
And now things have actually gotten worse for Liverpool – Chris Wilder has left the club.
The plan with Brewster obviously had Wilder in mind. Liverpool trusted him to develop the youngster.
But now we don’t actually know who will be the long-term boss at Sheffield United. Thus we have no idea if they’re the right boss for Brewster.
Now, the next guy may build around Brewster, almost certainly in the Championship. But perhaps they prefer a more senior player up top. Perhaps they play a completely different style that doesn’t suit him.
Liverpool’s buyback plan hangs by a thread, then. The best-case scenario was always that Brewster becomes a top player who they can sign again.
Right now, though, that feels like a long way off. Settling for the £23.5m fee is hardly a bad consolation prize but it certainly wasn’t the big hope.