After waiting through half the January window with hardly even a solid link to report, Liverpool made an exciting first move in the market today—though it's exciting far more for its future potential and for the way in which participation in the NextGen Series is already paying off for the club than exciting for the club's prospects in the present.
With the player yet to undergo his medical to complete the move it hasn't been officially announced yet, but by all accounts the club has signed Sporting Club de Portugal's 19-year-old attacking midfielder Joao Teixeira for an initial fee of between £850k and £1M with a reported massive sell-on clause inserted to tempt the Lisbon club into selling the player before he reaches anything like his full potential. It's still surprising that one of Europe's best academies—and perhaps one of the two best alongside Barcelona's La Masia—would allow one of their most promising prospects to leave for a fairly low fee in January instead of looking to nurture him for two or three more years before selling him on, but such a sell-on clause in case he turns out to be the next Sporting prodigy to follow in the footsteps of Ronaldo, Nani, and Figo at least helps to make sense of it.
It will seem natural to lump him in with Liverpool's other young attacking talent, players like Raheem Sterling, Fernando Suso, and Krisztian Adorjan, but he's closer to making an impact with the first team than that. Still, with Liverpool's numbers in midfield and other prospects like Jordan Henderson and Jonjo Shelvey clearly a step ahead of him both in age and acclimatisation, one would expect Teixeira's position with his new club to be largely similar to that at his old one—training with the first team and playing with the reserves, at least for the remainder of the current season. In any case, it appears that alongside the experience the NextGen Series has provided for Liverpool's youth players, it has also had the tangible immediate result of giving Liverpool's scouts and coaching staff an up close look at some of the best academy players on the continent—and now they've gone and poached the player who looked best against them in the group stages.
A first team debut in the immediate future may be unlikely for the youngster billed as the next Deco, but even if most fans will rightly be hoping for a new signing or two to address the club's more immediate needs, Teixeira is certainly an exciting name for the future.