It’s a case worthy of a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novel and a question that’s left everyone from pundits to amateurs baffled: where are all the footballers going?
The most recent man in question is italian forward Fabio Borini, of Liverpool (supposedly). After an unsuccessful period of almost two and a half years owned by the Reds, Borini is now an outcast banished to the bench or the stands to watch as a 20 year old plays out of position instead of him. But why? Most would agree that Borini has shown that he doesn’t have quite what it takes to play for Liverpool, but that shouldn’t hold his career back.
A season on loan with Sunderland proved he was more than capable of leading a forward line in the Premier League, scoring 10 goals to help keep Gus Poyet’s side out of the relegation zone. Upon his return to the training ground of Liverpool, Fabio is then told he won’t get the regular first team football he desires and that his future lies elsewhere. Now, six months on, he’s appeared only a handful of times and shown no sign of being able to meet the standards required of him. Here we are again in the transfer window, and Borini seems determined to stay despite this lack of game time stunting his development on the whole.
It just doesn’t make any sense. As noble it may seem that he is committed to the side, Borini – and a whole host of other players in the same position as him – needs to accept a failed venture and move on to a club where he will play often enough to prove that he has the talent worthy of a top side.
What he should be doing is taking a leaf out of the book of Daniel Sturridge. Arriving as a well hyped youngster through the ranks of Manchester City, he earned himself a move to Chelsea on the basis of potential. The inconsistency of games left Sturridge struggling in his development, and after showing he can cut it on a regular basis during his loan spell with Bolton he eventually moved onto Liverpool, a club willing to offer him weekly football and the chance he needed to kickstart his career. The result? Second top scorer in the Premier League in his first full season, and a fantastic goals to game ratio which literally set records at his new club.
In the modern game there are too many opportunities for the lazy players to sit back and earn a pay cheque whilst missing out on the chance to fulfil their potential and enjoy a decorated career, something that many of us can only dream of. There are far too many young players who ship out to big clubs while still in the vital stages of their career, and then falter when they aren’t offered the necessary consistency in game time that they need to grow.
Ask yourself this, particularly those of you who are fans of top four clubs: how many failed youngsters have you signed? As a Liverpool fan I can name a few. Kristian Nemeth, the prodigal striker who never made it. Joao Teixeira, the “next Deco” who’s currently enjoying life in the second division of England. I could go on.
More importantly, of those talented young players you can think of, how many of them now have careers worth mentioning? I’ll tell you which ones are doing well for themselves – the ones who accepted they need to move on. Andy Carroll for example, now flying high with West Ham United, and the recent departure of Suso – a player who always showed great promise, with limited chances – who has now joined Milan where he’ll play regularly.
Hindsight sure is a beautiful thing but looking back across each club – with their respective “next Messi” and so on – the amount of talent that has gone astray is shockingly disappointing. Players who are content with sitting on the bench at the likes of Chelsea could be running riot in a Newcastle shirt (I present to you evidence A, Loic Remy). It seems to me like the modern day footballer is scared of losing their “big break”, and would rather sit around being forgotten about in a reserve side of a big club rather than make a real name for themselves at a smaller club.
What’s also disappointing is the subsequent lack of quality across smaller teams, separating the so called big clubs even further from the pack. Football is the biggest sport in the world, and with literally millions of fans worldwide watching every game, there is always a chance for a player to go down in history for a club that they might not even consider playing for, and that’s a real shame.
Rather than fading into the background of their respective clubs, I believe the youth of the current game need to seek out opportunities rather than sluggishly waiting around for the odd chance at their big club. Go and demand games, earn a reputation and make a name for yourself. If we don’t see players accepting the necessity for a change of scenery at younger ages, we will continue to see the beautiful game’s biggest talents fade out with barely a whimper.
Luka Modric could prove the perfect Emre Can replacement at Liverpool
The Croatian has been linked with a move to Anfield with Emre Can expected to leave this summer.
Emre Can looks set to be on his way out of Anfield this summer as the 24-year-old German international seems unwilling to sign a new contract at Liverpool.
Spanish news outlet El Gol Digital have recently linked Real Madrid with the German international, although they would have to fend off interest from European rivals Juventus.
Speaking to Sport 1, Can recently expressed his desire to be featured in the world team of the year at some point in his career.
For the 24-year-old, it would be difficult to turn down a club of Madrid’s magnitude and his departure would represent a blow for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Nonetheless, a swap deal for Real Madrid star Luka Modric would be a superb way to ease the pain of the German’s exit.
Reports linking Can with the Bernabeu come just a matter of weeks after Spanish newspaper Dario Gol expressed Luka Modric’s desire to leave the current Champions League holders.
The Croation international is reportedly keen on a return to the Premier League return, with Liverpool, along with Tottenham, named as front-runners for his signature.
Even at 32 years of age, the Croatian midfielder is still one of the best players in the world and would represent an excellent short-term fix for the Reds.
His brilliant passing range, his superb footballing brain, and his delicate skills are all crucial components that would boost Liverpool’s attacking threat.
Combined with a world-class attack consisting of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane, the Reds truly could stake a claim for the most dynamic frontline in England next season.
Most importantly, the addition of Modric could finally mark the replacement for Philippe Coutinho that many Liverpool supporters have been begging for.
A seasoned international with tremendous experience at the upper levels of world football would be a remarkable transfer for Klopp’s side, and would surely bolster their title aspirations in 2018/19.
Andrew Robertson the most important Liverpool summer signing
The Scottish left-back has plugged a gap that has existed at Liverpool for some time.
Mohamed Salah rightly received all the praise yesterday, after Liverpool put Watford to the sword in the Premier League.
Liverpool beat the Hornets 5-0 at Anfield, with the Egyptian scoring four of the goals.
It is hard to argue with Salah being the club’s best signing in the summer. His tally of 37 goals in 43 games certainly highlights that fact.
However, the most important signing might have been that of Andrew Robertson.
The Scottish left-back joined from Hull City in a deal, reported by the Independent, to be worth around £8 million. That price-tag is now looking an absolute bargain.
Liverpool have had problems at left-back for a number of seasons.
Alberto Moreno looked like being the solution. However, the Spaniard’s defensive work and decision making made him a liability.
Jon Flanagan, who was Brendan Rodgers’ regular left-back, has not reached similar heights since a series of knee injuries decimated his promising career.
Last season saw James Milner fill the role. The experienced midfielder played well out of position but long-term, was not the solution.
Now, Liverpool have Robertson. The Scotland international has made the step up from his time at Hull with ease.
The 24-year-old Glaswegian is not only a threat going forward, but defensively he is exceptional.
His delivery into the box is undoubtedly exemplary, but he is equally adept at stopping opposing players from getting near Liverpool’s.
Liverpool have managed to bring in a player perfectly suited to Jurgen Klopp’s style of play.
Heavy-metal is the way Robertson plays in both attack and defence and the fans at Anfield already love him.
At just £8 million and only 24-years-old Liverpool picked up the bargain of the summer in the Premier League.
If Robertson can continue to progress and play with the same level of consistency he already has, then a decade of dominance at left-back could follow as Liverpool’s left-back.
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah within touching distance of all-time Premier League goal-scoring record
The Egyptian international has 28 Premier League goals this term.
Anfield witnessed a truly special moment in the second half of Liverpool’s 5-0 thrashing of Watford on Saturday. Winning 3-0, Liverpool were running riot in wintry conditions, and Mohamed Salah collected the ball just inside the box on a hat-trick.
What followed was absolute magic, emblematic of a dream debut season in the north-west for the Egyptian. Salah was mobbed by three defenders, but left all three in the dust with one deft cut-back.
Then, with two more Watford players crashing in on the ball, Salah remarkably managed to poke an improvised finish into the far corner past the helpless Orestis Karnezis.
As Salah wheeled away in celebration, tongue stuck out and arms extended, Anfield reveled in history in the making. That goal marked Salah’s 27th of the Premier League season and he would go on to score his 28th just eight minutes later.
The Egyptian is on course to smash the Premier League scoring records in emphatic fashion. The current record is 31 goals, a tally achieved by Alan Shearer in 1995/96, Cristiano Ronaldo in 2007/08, and fellow Red Luis Suarez in 2013/14.
With seven matches remaining, including fixtures against the likes of West Brom and Stoke, few would bet against Salah demolishing the 22-year-old record.
The achievement would place Salah in the illustrious company of Premier League legends, an incredible feat for a player who many in England wrote off during his short spell at Chelsea.
Thanks to Salah, Liverpool have barely missed a step after the departure of Philippe Coutinho in January, advancing to the Champions League quarterfinals and cementing their top-four position.
The prolific winger is proving all of his doubters wrong in audacious fashion, and with a Premier League Golden Boot and goal-scoring record seemingly on the way, he is one of the most in-form players in the world.
The early-April European clash with Manchester City will provide Salah with, perhaps, his biggest stage yet. Expect the top goalscorer in England to rise to the occasion.
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