This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
According to The Daily Mirror, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has blocked a move away for Ryan Kent following approaches from both Rangers and Leeds this summer.
What’s the word?
The report claims Klopp wants to hang on to Kent following the absences of his first-choice attacking trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.
It adds the winger will be given the chance to shine in pre-season and will go on the club’s tour of the USA. The reported decision on Kent comes after reports in recent weeks had suggested Rangers were keen on re-signing the 22-year-old this summer after an impressive loan campaign at Ibrox last season.
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Whilst Klopp’s thinking on keeping Kent perhaps predominantly revolved around the lack of alternative options, his displays at Rangers surely warrant a genuine chance for the upcoming campaign.
A more than solid back-up
A versatile attacker, capable of playing on either flank or even through the middle, Kent was an impressive figure under Steven Gerrard last year. Scoring six goals and providing a further ten assists in 43 appearances across all competitions, the 22-year-old seemed to add a greater end product to his game than he has shown in the past.
Indeed, his ability to step up for the big occasion was something that didn’t go unnoticed by the Rangers manager. Following a particularly fine display after an Old Firm derby, Gerrard said: “When he’s at his level – whether you’re a Celtic player or anyone else in the league – he’s difficult to cope with.”
At Anfield, Kent is highly unlikely to displace either Salah or Mane in the starting line-up. But as an option off the bench, the Liverpool academy product could offer that extra spark from out wide. The fact he has just one senior appearance for the club to his name suggests he hasn’t been given a real shot at making it in the first-team.
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His loan spells have no doubt helped him grow and the year in Scotland certainly raised his game up a level. Indeed, speaking back in February, fellow Liverpool hero Gary McAllister said of Kent: “There aren’t many wingers who get you off your seat in today’s football. They’re risk-takers, they put the ball at risk at times by putting it close to defenders, so it’s getting that balance of when to go and do your magic.”
In the games Liverpool’s fabled forward line strike a blank, they could do a lot worse than to turn to Kent to conjure up a bit of magic. So whilst Klopp’s decision might be based on the short-term, it could end up being a long-term success.
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