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15 Mar 2016

Done Deal Soon? Liverpool close to transfer agreement for 'outstanding' £5m attacker. Klopp frustrated

After five years at Liverpool, £5m-rated Reds striker Jerome Sinclair is reportedly on the verge of signing for Watford, and to be honest, with the appalling promotion prospects for Academy attackers, who can blame him for wanting out?

In January, The Telegraph claimed:

"Jerome Sinclair has told Liverpool he wants to start playing first-team football".

According to TalkSport today:

"Sinclair has struck a pre-contract agreement with Watford. Jurgen Klopp had become frustrated with Sinclair [who] refused to commit his long-term future due to a perceived lack of progression.

Predictably, Sinclair - hailed by Jamie Carragher for his 'outstanding' finishing - has received criticism from fans/pundits, but in my view, he has done nothing wrong:

* Why should Sinclair hang around and waste his career? The LFC Academy is a development graveyard for attackers, and in the last 25 years, only six attacking players have made it through the youth system to become first-team regulars (Owen, Fowler, Gerrard, McManaman, Sterling, and Ibe).

* Joao Teixeira's situation at Liverpool is a cautionary tale, and Sinclair is almost certainly aware of the Portuguese's struggle for chances. Despite playing consistently well and winning two 'Player of the Year awards, Teixeira - who is now 23 (!) - has made made only EIGHT appearances in four years. This demotivating approach is not conducive to long-term player retention, and Sinclair is clearly unwilling to put his future in the hands of a club that ignores obvious talent.

* Additionally, Sinclair may be disturbed by Liverpool's manifest lack of a merit system. For example: after scoring against Exeter in January, Klopp immediately dumped him from the match-day squad, and since then, he's been granted just FOUR minutes of game time. Who wouldn't want to leave after that?

* Klopp is frustrated? Cry me a river. After only two appearances all season, Sinclair is the one who should frustrated, especially after being granted a total of 94 minutes of game time in year when the squad has been continually decimated by injury.

* Sinclair's desire to leave reminds me of Tom Ince, who also left Liverpool for first-team football. At the time, Ince explained: “It [leaving LFC] was the best move I ever made. It built me physically and mentally. I say to any kid at 18: if you get the chance to play in the first team of a lower division club, take it".

* Former Blackpool boss Ian Holloway backed Ince's decision, and criticised Liverpool for stunting the development of young players: "Liverpool held him [Ince] back. There was no way through. He got fed up with that so he came and learnt his trade here.".

* Since leaving Liverpool, Ince has made over 200 appearances for various clubs, and although he's in a lower division, he's still only 23. Again, contrast this with Teixeira, who is also 23.

Mark my words, Ojo will be next to quit the club for the same reasons as Sinclair, and Liverpool will continue to pay the price for persisting with superfluous dross at the expense of prioritising youth development.

Prime example: Divock Origi. Why couldn't the club just put Sinclair (who's just a year younger) in the first-team squad, and save the £10m transfer fee?Ditto Suso and Luis Alberto; Rodgers spent £7m on Alberto, and sent Suso on loan, a dispiriting deal that represents everything that's wrong with LFC's youth development.

As for Sinclair: Like with Ince, I personally admire his willingness to leave one of the world's elite clubs in the pursuit of personal development. Moving to Watford is a step down, but who cares if it it leads to regular first-team football?

Good luck, Jerome - You're making the right decision.

Author: Jaimie K


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