The weather is hot, pre-season training is in full swing and there has been plenty of activity within Melwood this week. Firstly, there have been some arrivals, departures and once again more transfer rumours, even at Academy level.
Back to Training…
All the players have just completed their first full week back at training after a long summer. There have been some players who have played in the Under 18s last season that are training in the Under 21s, and players that played in the Under 21s last season that are training with the first team. From the training pictures available, it seems that left-back Joe Maguire is now training with the Under 21s after an impressive season for the Under 18s. Additionally, Under 21s goalkeeper Danny Ward is now training with first team goalkeepers Pepe Reina, Simon Mignolet and Brad Jones. Also, regular Under 21 players such as Andre Wisdom, Jon Flanagan, Conor Coady and Jordon Ibe have trained with the first team as well.
One departure that was confirmed by the official club website this week was that Under 21 striker Michael Ngoo has completed a loan move to Championship side Yeovil Town for the 2013/14 season. The Glovers have only just been promoted to the second tier of English football, so it will be a new experience for both Ngoo and Yeovil. Ngoo spent the second half of last season on loan at SPL side Hearts with former Academy defender Danny Wilson, where he scored 5 goals in 17 appearances for the Scottish side. A loan move is actually want Ngoo needs because since joining from Southend in 2009, he hasn’t earned an appearance for the first team, and with the first team signing Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto, competition will be even more fierce, so it is ideal for Ngoo to get game time and better still in a very good standard of football that the Championship provides. Since joining Yeovil, Ngoo scored a first half hat-trick as Yeovil won 7-0 against Weymouth. Ngoo only played 45 minutes.
As mentioned before, all Academy players are back at pre-season training, and this is no different for Krisztian Adorjan, but the Hungarian midfielder is not training with his team-mates instead he has begun his one week trail with Dutch club Groningen. The Reds are interested in loaning Adorjan for the season whereas Groningen want to sign him permanently. Whatever the outcome of this story, Adorjan’s departure from Liverpool looks imminent, despite him playing a very important role in the Under 21 which included 12 goals, so his contribution will be missed for Alex Inglethorpe’s Under 21s next season. Adorjan will make his Groningen debut tomorrow (13th July) when the Dutch side play Helmond Sport.
Another departure that may have upset some fans is that Under 21 winger Suso has gone to Spanish side Almeria, who have just been promoted to La Liga following their promotion from the second division. Suso played a major role in Brendan Rodgers’ first season in charge, making 20 appearances, including 14 in the Premier League. The fact that he is playing in his home country will help Suso, and hopefully it will make him a better player and have the same results as Coutinho, who spent a season on loan at Espanyol.
Like most weeks from June to August, there will be a lot of transfer rumours, some of them will be true but most will be rubbish, and there have been some rumours out of the Academy this week. Firstly, it seems that Liverpool have renewed their interest in 15 year old midfielder Rodney Kongolo. The reason I used renewed is that the Reds were interested in him before and are now again after the Dutchman’s signature. Kongolo is a defensive midfielder and has been dubbed as the next Patrick Vieira, but with Liverpool having signed Pedro Chirivella, will another defensive midfielder? However, Liverpool are not the favourites because Kongolo is likely to go to Manchester City, an odd decision for Kongolo since hardly any players from Man City’s Academy break into the first team.
Then, there is news about a possible departure of teen sensation Raheem Sterling, but Liverpool have rejected a loan deal from Bolton for the Under 21 forward/winger as he is important to Brendan Rodgers’ plans in the future, as mentioned last week after the Reds dropped their interest in Christian Atsu.
Another rumour is that Liverpool are chasing two Chelsea Academy players. Firstly, following a training ground bust-up, midfielder Connor Hunte has left Chelsea. Hunte played for Chelsea’s Under 21s and Under 18s as well as England Under 17s and Under 16s. Next, the Reds are interested in 17 year old Striker Islam Feruz, the Scottish international played for Chelsea Under 18s last season and played a major role against Steve Coopers’ Under 18s in the FA Youth Cup Semi Final last season.
In Other News…
This is a new section to the blog that may be here some weeks but not all, it covers news that may interest people who are interested in our Academy. The only news in this section this week is that former Academy goalkeeper Jamie Stephens has signed for Newport County. The ‘keeper spent last season on loan at Airbus UK and was released by Liverpool after the 2012/13.
The Under 21s also begin their pre-season campaign on the 12th July (today) where they will play Derby.
That ends the weekly round up for the week commencing 07/07/2013. I will try to get this blog published every Friday as that is what you readers wanted. Also, for more Academy news please follow me on Twitter (@scotttayloruk) and visit my own personal blog at http://www.thenextgenkopites.wordpress.com if you are heading this on another website. Thanks for taking the time to read about what’s happening at Melwood and I’ll see you next Friday!