Sunday, February 5, 2023

Liverpool Reject Newcastle United’s Loan Approach: What Future Does The Player Have At Anfield?

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Pratyay Maitra
A sports enthusiast in his mid-twenties who reads, breathes, as well as dreams (mostly) about football and attempts to share his views with the fanatics by jotting it down. Prefers to learn through extensive interaction, communication and exploration. So don't be in a quandary and SHOOT.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who guided the Reds to a ‘top four’ finish in his first full season in charge, has targeted a few new resources in order to strengthen his first team squad to compete for the Premier League title as well as progress through to the knockout stages of prestigious Champions League competition next season. Also, the ex-Borussia Dortmund gaffer is keen to build a strong U23 side with high profile youngsters who will flourish for the reserves and can have senior experience in domestic cup competitions.

Klopp has secured the signing of young Englishman Dominic Solanke from Chelsea upon expiration of his contract with a view to creating a powerful starting lineup for club’s Premier League 2 ( i.e. Professional Development League) campaign. Now, he has reportedly turned down Newcastle United’s loan approach for youngster Sheyi Ojo, who along with Solanke, played a key role in England’s U20 World Cup triumph. Ojo will be assessed by the gaffer during pre-season friendlies before any decision is made about his future.

The 20-year old England youth international progressed through to the academy ranks of Liverpool when he joined them back in 2011 from MK Dons at the age of 14. The starlet, meanwhile, had a couple of loan spells with second tier outfits Wigan Athletic and Wolverhampton Wanderers but the later was cut short during the 2015-16 campaign when he was recalled by Jurgen Klopp for the remainder of the campaign. Ojo then went on to make 11 appearances for the Reds and netted his first competitive goal for Liverpool in their FA Cup replay against Exeter City.

But his progress was hindered following an injury-riddled campaign as the young winger missed the majority of last year’s pre-season due to a stress fracture in his back. Ojo, who was knocking on the door of the first team, was put way down the pecking order and managed only a couple of senior outings during the 2016-17 Premier League season.

However, the recent success with England u20s has reignited his hopes of regaining a place in Klopp’s side. He, alongside Harry Wilson and Ryan Kent ( Kent spent the last campaign with Championship outfit Barnsley and was elected as their Young Player of the Season), will be handed a chance to impress the boss during the pre-season, before any decision is taken about their immediate futures.

Liverpool Echo, the outlet from the Merseyside, has previously reported that any two of these three highly rated prodigies will be retained for the reserves and one of them is expected to be loaned out for regular first team experience at senior level.

Klopp has reiterated his intentions of strengthening the reserve team rather than sanctioning a loan move for any of his youngsters for the entire campaign. Jon Flanagan, the Reds fullback, is the latest example of a failed loan deal who forced a move to Premier League counterparts Burnley for regular first team experience after a couple of injury-plagued seasons but ended up being frustrated with only 10 appearances over his loan period.

Thus, despite having his chances to flourish in Premier League under former Reds boss Rafael Benitez and his newly promoted Newcastle United, Ojo might still end up playing for the Liverpool reserves and earn a bit part role in the first team for the 2017-18 football campaign.

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