Reports are emerging today that Liverpool have accepted a £15 million bid from Bournemouth for 20-year-old winger Jordon Ibe. Having lost Matt Ritchie to Newcastle earlier this week, Eddie Howe has been searching for a good winger to fill the void and has settled on Ibe as the solution to his problem. But, will Ibe prove to be a good signing for the South Coast club?
For a start, Ibe is a very promising talent. Signed from Wycombe Wanderers in 2011, aged just 15, after scoring in League One, the winger has managed an impressive 58 appearances for the Anfield side, and has been tipped as a star of the future. He is quick, strong and has a decent shot from distance, as he showed when scoring goals from outside the box against Rubin Kazan and West Bromwich Albion this season.
In short, Ibe has raw talent in abundance, and this could provide Bournemouth with an extra dimension going forward as they look to build on a solid first season in the Premier League.
However, despite being given ample opportunity to break into the Liverpool first team last season, Ibe was too often disappointing when it came to his decision making. His crosses were regularly hitting the first man; he was running down blind allies; his form was that of a struggling youngster rather than a future England international. £15 million for a kid who has yet to really prove himself seems to be a very steep fee indeed.
However, Ibe is sure to need football to fulfill his potential, and Bournemouth could be the perfect place to do that. The aforementioned Ritchie has departed the club, and with regular football, Ibe could turn into a more than capable replacement for the Scottish international.
Under the tutelage of Eddie Howe and regular Premier League game time, Ibe could live up to his huge potential, which would not only mean Bournemouth would have an outstanding player on their hands, but one with significant re-sale value. The £15 million they will pay Liverpool for Ibe could turn out to be an excellent investment in the years down the line.
As for Liverpool, whilst they would rather keep their premier talents at Anfield, they have plenty of other options in attacking midfield. With Sadio Mane arriving and Lazar Markovic returning from loan, Ibe was unlikely to have featured too much in the upcoming campaign, especially with the form that Sheyi Ojo was showing towards the end of last season. Earning £15 million for a bit-part player could prove to be a very good move for Liverpool.
In conclusion, at the price he is going for, Ibe is a gamble for Bournemouth. He has huge potential but has yet to really deliver on it, which makes this a risky transfer for the Cherries. He could prove to be a massive success, helping Bournemouth climb up the Premier League and doubling his value, or he could stagnate and be a complete waste of money. He has the ability to succeed, but time will tell if this is the right move.
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