Liverpool should sign Joe Gelhardt to replace Bobby Duncan
Liverpool turned down approaches for academy star Duncan last week but the Reds altered their stance on the 18-year-old, with the English youth international completing a deadline day move to Serie A outfit Fiorentina for a fee of £1.7 million. (h/t Metro)
Indeed, Duncan showed a lot of promise for the club’s U-18 side last season, scoring an eye-watering 23 goals in 26 outings, and his departure is certainly a big loss for Liverpool, who had high hopes of him.
Duncan wasn’t expected to stake a claim for a senior call-up this term but given his talent and potential, he was tipped by many to make a breakthrough into Jorgen Klopp’s side over the next couple of campaigns.
However, life has to go on after Duncan’s departure and Liverpool have already set their sights on Gelhardt to fill in the void.
The 17-year-old England U-17 star has already appeared twice for Wigan at the senior level, with the youth coaches at the DW Stadium labelling him as a player with the potential to go on and play at the highest level.
Gelhardt has been at Wigan since the age of 10 and made his professional debut for the Latics against Rotherham United in the EFL Cup last August.
A regular for England at the U-17 level, the teenager has also earned rave reviews for his impressive performances for the Young Lions, helping them qualify for the 2019 UEFA U-17 European Championship.
Interestingly, Liverpool didn’t table any formal offer for the 17-year-old before the deadline and, with the transfer window now closed, the Reds will have to wait at least till January to enter into negotiations with Wigan over a potential deal for the teenage prodigy.
To put things into perspective, Joe Gelhardt looks like a real talent at this stage of his career and Liverpool could bag a real coup if they manage to complete a deal for the youngster in January.
That the 17-year-old already has senior experience in his CV at such a tender age is a clear testament of his rapid development and Liverpool have every reason to look at him as one for the future.
Already prolific marksman at the youth level, the left-footed centre-forward apparently has what it takes to evolve into a Premier League-quality player in the years to follow and the Reds could have a gem on their hands if Gelhardt manages to fulfil his promise.
With Liverpool’s devastating front trio of Firmino, Salah and Mane imposing their authority in the senior ranks at Anfield and the presence of Shaqiri, Origi and Rhian Brewster as useful back-ups, it is really tough for the attackers in the academy to get a look in from the manager.
However, the Reds need to unearth a few gems and polish them to lay down a strong foundation for the years to come and the acquisition of Gelhardt would definitely be a step in the right direction.
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For the time being, though, they should continue to keep close tabs on him and monitor his development carefully.