What’s that you say? sign a young, talented centre-back who can pass a ball but isn’t afraid to play football the English way. Wait. What? We did this a few years ago and he turned out to be a £7 million pound flop!
Diogo Leite looks like the real deal, so much so that he is on the radars of some of Europe’s most prestigious clubs but is history doomed to repeat its self if Leite gets on the plane to Merseyside?
For those of young enough to remember the year 2013, you would remember that it was a time of great promise. The now Celtic gaffer had made some exciting signings in the January transfer window. Club legends such as Luis Alberto, Iago Aspas, Simon Mignolet, Mamadou Sakho, and the greatest player in the world King Kolo Touré were all drafted in to make this side into a world-beating squad. Along with these young exciting players (asides from Yaya Touré’s cool older brother) Brendan Rodgers had handpicked a kid from Portugal and aimed to craft him into the new (faster) Ricardo Carvalho. His name was Tiago Ilori.
Out of all the signings to come through that year this was the one that got the people of Merseyside talking. Word on the street was that Ilori held the record for the fastest 100m sprint at Sporting Lisbon, smashing Cristiano Ronaldo’s time set in his youth academy days. This season turned out to be one of the best in Liverpool’s premier league history as they finished second thanks to Steven Gerard’s infamous slip and Crystanbul (Crystal Palace’s come back from 3-0 down). However, this highly successful season did not include the supposed wonder kid Ilori.
For the next four years, Ilori would spend his time watching Liverpool play from the comfort of his couch as he was shipped all around Europe to gain ‘experience’ to finally breakthrough to the first team. As I’m sure you can tell this invaluable experience gave the young Portuguese the edge to make the starting 11… of Reading. That’s right after four long successful years at Liverpool Tiago Ilori packed his bags and headed off down south to rot for eternity in the Championship.
So, as you can see Liverpool have been here before and it didn’t end well. I am all for signing young prospects who have the ability to become a part of the world’s best. However, if we decide to fork out £15 million on him let’s try to give the boy a chance rather than sending him on loan to Aston Villa for ‘experience’. Let’s face it, Liverpool’s defence at the moment is Mo Salah scoring goals, so what’s the worst that can happen by giving him a few games?