Liverpool’s calculated transfer policy underscored by surprise loss of very talented prospect

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He was almost lost amid the frenzy in response to announcements from Liverpool’s Thiago Alcântara and Diogo Jota, followed by Sunday’s outright triumph over Chelsea, but over the weekend the club also bid farewell to the one of his most talented youngsters at Ki-Jana Hoever.In a move that came completely out of the blue – much like Jota’s going the other way – the 18-year-old sealed a permanent move to Wolves for an initial £ 9million, potentially potentially s ‘rise to £ 13.5million with add-ons. As part of the deal, Liverpool have also negotiated a 15% sell-off clause for any future transfers away from Molineux.

On some level, it’s a bit of a shame to see him go at this point. Whenever Hoever has had an opportunity at Liverpool, both in competitions and in the preseason, he always looked like a very promising talent with rich potential. Even since his first baptism of fire in the FA Cup third round in January 2019, at the age of 16 at the time – coincidentally, against Wolves – it was obvious that he had something special going on. his subject.

Fast, composed in possession and an intelligent reader of the game, there was a sense of maturity and authority in his game far beyond his years. After passing his first test with distinction (despite losing Liverpool on the night) he was rewarded with his first senior League Cup start against MK Dons last season and duly scored it with a goal – a ball header to the back post after timing his late run into the box to perfection.

Then, during the replay of the FA Cup fourth round against Shrewsbury Town at Anfield, it was he, alongside compatriot Sepp van den Berg, and with Pedro Chirivella in the lead, who provided the backbone of this which was, unusually, one of the most memorable wins of the season as Liverpool’s youngest team (an average age of 19, 102 days) scored a remarkable triumph.

By all accounts, he was on a steady upward trajectory with a truly bright future. But that’s where the question lies: How could he take his development to the next level at Liverpool without any clear path to new first-team opportunities, beyond sporadic outings in the early rounds of the domestic cups?

Obviously, Jürgen Klopp and his coaching staff had seen something in Neco Williams to feel confident in him being Trent Alexander-Arnold’s main assistant at right-back. While Williams continued and racked up a handful of Premier League appearances, appearing regularly on the Match Day squad towards the end of last season, Hoever was nowhere to be found.

Although he might end up moving to center-back at some point later, it was nearly impossible to see how he would become a viable option for Liverpool, with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Fabinho all in all. the streets. ahead in the hierarchical order. With the eye-catching emergence of Billy Koumetio in the preseason, Hoever’s chances would likely have been even more limited this season, even for Cup games.

And so he found himself at a crossroads, with three scenarios to choose from: leaving on loan to gain experience, continuing to play for Liverpool’s Under-23s or taking the leap and embarking on a new challenge elsewhere. . The problem with the first two is that they wouldn’t increase his chances of getting closer to the first team anytime soon.

At Wolves, on the other hand, he will have games. Nuno Espírito Santo is known to favor a relatively tight-knit squad and doesn’t just buy players he won’t actually use. Hoever won’t become the top pick right away, of course, but he will be offered many more opportunities to advance in his career than he would have if he had stayed at Liverpool. Additionally, Wolves 3-4-3 system seems ideally suited to use his skills, whether as a right center-back in a three-way defense, or even a right-back.

It is undeniable that Liverpool are losing a player with a very high potential cap. But they also earn £ 13.5million for a player who only made four senior appearances and paid £ 90,000 to sign as a 16-year-old from Ajax just a few years ago . That’s more than half of the total costs for Thiago there.

So it’s not a bad business decision, even if Liverpool would have kept him in an ideal world – and it’s important, in terms of attracting other very talented youngsters in the future, that Liverpool are not seen to keep them from moving on. they choose to do it.

It’s a summer where more compromises than usual will have to be made, and Liverpool could soon make another one by cashing out Rhian Brewster (albeit hopefully with a buyout clause included). These decisions should not be seen as totally negative, as ultimately they help facilitate the moves that actually make Liverpool’s first team stronger.

Recruiting players for minimal fees, developing them and then selling them for substantial profit is part of a well-run club, as the harsh reality is that the vast majority of them won’t end up being first-team players. long term for Liverpool. . There comes a point in every young player’s career when they have to decide what’s best for themselves, and for Hoever that meant a fresh start.

He and Brewster could now continue to build great careers for themselves, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Liverpool did wrong in letting them go.

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