20 Aug 2015

Transfer 'Dream': £7m star desperate to 'play for Liverpool'; confirms he chose LFC over 'other clubs'

In June, the agent of Tiago Ilori confirmed that he'd held talks with Liverpool about the defender's future, and indicated that Brendan Rodgers is willing to give him an 'opportunity' this season. That hasn't happened yet, but Ilori remains hopeful that he'll get a chance to shine for Liverpool this year.

When asked recently about Ilori's future, his father (and Agent) told radio station Antena 1:

"We spoke with Liverpool last week about Tiago. They said he will have an opportunity [next season]. There are other clubs interested, like Sunderland, but Sunderland is a very cold city".

Hmmm. I'm not sure that Merseyside is much warmer than Wearside, but I digress...

Last night, Ilori - who cost Liverpool £7.5m in 2013 - featured in the U21's 3-3 draw with Everton, and after the game, he told reporters:

"I want to play for Liverpool. That is my objective so I'm going to do everything to make that happen. I chose Liverpool over a few other teams and...to be at a club like this is a dream come true. The next step is playing for it".

Admirable ambition from Ilori, but he he needs to wake up and smell the coffee:

* With Skrtel, Lovren, Sakho, and Toure in the squad, there is too much competition in central defence, and irrespective of how he performs, I can't see Rodgers dumping £38m-worth of players on the bench to accommodate Ilori.

* In recent years, young players like Sebastian Coates, and Andre Wisdom have tried and failed to break into the team at centre-half, and Ilori is the latest youngster to crash and burn.

* Young academy players never make it as regular centre-backs at Anfield. Liverpool always buy ready-made defenders, and history categorically proves this (In the Premier League era, for example: Wright, Scales, Hyypia, Henchoz, Agger, Skrtel, Lovren, Sakho, Toure, etc).

* In the last 25 years, Jamie Carragher is the only player to progress through the youth ranks and become a regular centre-back for Liverpool.

Liverpool fans still seem to have a lot of faith in Ilori. A few months ago, I conducted a poll on the site asking fans whether LFC should sell the Portuguese if/when the opportunity arises.

* A whopping 84% of participants voted NO to selling him.

That's an emphatic vote of confidence in Ilori, but I don't see him staying at Anfield in the long-term.

That said, there may be a chink of light on the horizon. If Sakho leaves before the transfer deadline, there will be a space in the squad for another centre-back, and Ilori is the obvious choice.

Knowing Rodgers, though, he'll probably go out and sign another stop-gap instead of giving Ilori a chance to stake his claim.

After signing him in 2013, Rodgers made the following claim about Ilori:

"Young Ilori is a wonderful talent. He's a good size, he's elegant, strong, quick and can play the type of football we want to play"

If this is true, why is Ilori yet to make a first-team appearance almost TWO YEARS later?

Ultimately, like so many other young players before him, Ilori made a massive mistake signing for Liverpool, and if has any sense, he should quit Anfield ASAP.

Author: Jaimie K


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