Liverpool were unable to produce another European miracle this week, losing 1-0 away to Real Madrid in the Champions League last-16. The Reds started with a midfield two, losing Jordan Henderson and Stefan Bajčetić the day before the game.
Bajčetić has since been ruled out for the rest of the season. The 18-year-old had enjoyed a run in the first team of late, with the likes of Curtis Jones, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain overlooked for a role in the starting eleven.
Another 18-year-old to feature on the back pages this week is Barcelona’s Gavi. The Spain international could potentially be forced to leave the Catalonians on a free transfer at the end of the season after La Liga blocked the ratification of a new contract. A host of top clubs have been suggested as a possible destination for the ‘wonderkid’, including Liverpool.
Liverpool’s Interest In GAVI EXPLAINED!
Neil said: “At the moment Barca are standing to lose Gavi on a free because his youth contract expires in the summer. They can’t give him another youth contract because he’s 18, and they can’t give him a first-team contract because they would need to free up funds.
“It’s potentially a very exciting story for Liverpool. I know Manchester City were also linked in the story. That terrifies me, to be honest, the thought of them getting him!
“You can get a potential – he’s not far off already – I think he’s going to be a world-class player, for very little. Wow! What an opportunity that’s going to be for someone.
“I would be absolutely delighted if Liverpool were able to cash in and take advantage of this situation. It would be a real game-changer for the club, but I think there are a lot of rumblings to come in this story. He’s a brilliant, brilliant player. He’s already one of the best players of his position and age in the world.
“Even if for some reason he doesn’t adapt to the Premier League or whatever, this is a player that’s going to have a lot of value for the rest of his career, pretty much, injuries permitting. It’s potentially a massive coup for whoever gets him. Hopefully, it’s Liverpool!”
Liverpool always seemed unlikely to be in with a shout of signing Gavi when links first appeared last summer. Thankfully, Barcelona’s massive financial issues look like possibly hamstringing their attempts to keep one of the best young midfielders in the world at the club. The Spanish giants are subject to La Liga’s 4:1 rule, meaning for every euro spent on a new signing, the club must make a saving of four times that amount. As Gavi’s mooted senior contract terms are €8million a year, that would mean removing €32million from their wage bill, simply to hold on to one of their best prospects. Alongside Manchester City, they must have the hardest-working accountants in European football!
In terms of prospects, there are few in world football as exciting as the 17-cap Spain international, still just 18, Gavi was described as a ‘competitive animal’ by teammate and fellow midfielder Sergio Busquets.
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