Why Liverpool should snap up Rayan Cherki as a long-term prospect
Premier League rivals Manchester City and Manchester United have also been linked with a move for the 16-year-old, who is also on the radar of La Liga heavyweights Real Madrid (90min h/t Liverpool Echo).
Cherki, who is one among the brightest emerging prospects across the continent, has made his senior professional bow for Lyon in the Ligue 1, as well as in the UEFA Champions League this term.
Born in France to parents of Algerian descent, Rayan Cherki rose through the youth ranks at Lyon and featured for the club’s reserve side in the Championnat National 2 at the tender age of 15, whilst also becoming the youngest ever goalscorer in the UEFA Youth League in a 4-1 victory over Man City.
The 16-year-old’s heroics across various age-group levels earned him a professional deal at his boyhood club back in July prior to the start of the ongoing campaign and Cherki hasn’t looked back since then.
The teenager’s debut at Lyon hasn’t eluded the eyes of the reigning European champions, Liverpool, who have now joined the pursuit of the attacker.
Capable of playing anywhere across the forward line, the teenager is yet to register his first senior goal for Lyon but he continues to be a regular fixture for the club’s reserve side in the Championnat National.
As per the report from 90min (h/t Liverpool Echo), Lyon president Jean Michael Aulas is resigned to losing Rayan Cherki in the near future amidst widespread interest from some of the continental heavyweights, despite the 16-year-old’s contract running until 2022.
The same report adds that Aulas wouldn’t hesitate to sanction a departure for Cherki in January if a potential suitor is ready to match Lyon’s financial demands.
To put things into perspective, it is very clear that Lyon have opened the door for Rayan Cherki to depart for a bigger club in the near future and Liverpool’s long-term future under Jurgen Klopp would be in safe hands if the Reds manage to sign the talented teenager.
There are not many 16-year-old’s playing in the top-five leagues in Europe and Cherki is among the best rising talents across the continent.
That he is already rubbing shoulders with the big boys at such a tender age is indicative of a level of maturity that belies his years and Liverpool could have a gem on their hands in the future if he goes on to fulfil his promise.
Besides spending heavily to bolster their senior ranks with some world-class players, Liverpool have also put equal emphasis on their youth recruitment drive.
The likes of Sepp van den Berg and Harvey Elliott came through the door from PEC Zwolle and Fulham back in the summer and Rayan Cherki would be yet another fantastic addition to the existing pool of burgeoning young talents at Anfield.
In Curtis Jones, Rhian Brewster and Luis Longstaff, Liverpool already boast of some solid young talent. And Cherki has the talent and the potential to establish himself as a regular for Neil Critchley’s U23s in the Premier League 2.
Also, it is worth recalling that Liverpool are yet to bring in a replacement for former academy starlet Bobby Duncan, who departed for Fiorentina back in the summer.
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All in all, Liverpool need to keep polishing a few gems of their own if they are to maintain their dominance under Klopp and a move for Rayan Cherki could pay off handsomely moving forward.