Sunderland are set to lose one of their highly rated wonderkids, with Luca Stephenson reportedly edging towards a move to Premier League giants Liverpool.
According to the Chronicle, Liverpool are set to sign Sunderland wonderkid Luca Stephenson. The Reds have been pursuing Luca Stephenson for a while. But, it seems there has been a breakthrough in negotiations, with the youngster close to joining Liverpool.
What is even more surprising is that The Sun had quoted a fee of around £500,000, which is hefty for a 15-year-old. But, according to the Chronicle’s sources, Liverpool have been able to strike a deal for around a third of the £500,000 that was quoted earlier.
Liverpool have been looking to strengthen their academy squad for a while now. Their attempts to recruit domestically took a hit as they were issued a ban for attempting to poach a youngster from Stoke City’s academy. This forced Liverpool to look towards other European countries in order to beef up their academy lineup.
Liverpool did snap up Vitezslav Jaros, Tony Gallacher and Edvard Tagseth while inviting several other youngsters on trial before deciding not to sign them on a permanent basis.
Liverpool are looking to wrap up a deal for Sunderland teenager Luca Stephenson.
— lfcstuff (@Stufflfc_) September 2, 2018
As far as Sunderland are concerned, they have witnessed a tumultuous time over the last few years. The Black Cats have gone from the Premier League to League One in what has been a drastic change of fortunes for the Wearside club. Sunderland always pride themselves on their ability to churn out stars for the first-team.
But, the other clubs have now started to poach players from their academy due to the shift in stature, financial and otherwise. Joel Asoro was the latest one to depart, with the youngster joining Championship side Swansea. The player was highly regarded and was heavily in-demand when Sunderland were in the Premier League.
Sunderland might be able to use the prospect of a faster track to the first-team to lure and retain academy stars, especially with the Black Cats currently in League One. But, in the case of Luca Stephenson, who wanted to stay at the club, the report indicates that the youngster has received an offer that is too good to turn down.
Sunderland will have to be satisfied with a minimal fee while Liverpool lay their hands on another bright prospect. It’s a win-win for Luca Stephenson though, who would be hoping to emulate fellow Wearside star Jordan Henderson, who joined Liverpool from Sunderland in 2011 and is now the club captain.