By Scott Taylor
Liverpool are just one of many clubs who are tracking the progress of Newcastle United U21 starlet Oliver Kemen. Kemen, 18, was born in Cameroon, but represents France at U19 level, where he is the sides captain. It is understood that Liverpool face competition from Tottenham amongst others for the midfielder, according to French newspaper L’Equipe.
He joined Steve McClaren’s side from Ligue 1 side Metz in 2013, but has failed to make a single appearance for the first team. However, he was on the bench in Newcastle’s defeats against Arsenal, Sunderland and Spurs last season. Kemen is a central midfielder, but can also play at either end of the diamond. He has been known to be a versatile player, playing as a left midfielder in Newcastle’s 3-1 win against Blackburn in December 2014. In the Magpies’ U21s’ 1-1 draw against Bolton in January, Kemen played a full game at right-back. Overall, he has played 26 times in the U21 Premier League, starting 19 of them. He has scored three goals and assisted two. His best game came in February, where he scored one and assisted the other as his side drew 2-2 at Wolves.
Kemen is currently competing for France in the 2015 European U19 Championships. Although he has captained the side in five of the nine games leading up to the tournament, he wasn’t in the squad for the 1-0 win against Austria in the opening game. In his nine games, he has scored once, in a 6-0 win over Liechtenstein in October 2014, a game where he wasn’t captain. He has previously represented France at U16, U17 and U18 level.
Liverpool have already added plenty of personnel to the club’s academy this season. The Reds have already signed Paulinho, Brooks Lennon, Booby Adekanye, Elijah Dixon-Bonner and Allan Rodgrigues de Sousa. Due to the fact that Liverpool have signed five young midfielders already this transfer window, it is unlikely that any bid will be made for Kemen. Although most of the newest recruits will go straight into Neil Critchley’s U18 side, any bid may depend on how many Liverpool youngsters are sent out on loan.