With most eyes focused on potential new arrivals as the January transfer window rolls along, Liverpool today released news of a rather different kind of signing as defender Andre Wisdom committed his future to the club by putting pen to paper on a new long-term deal.
"It's a great honour to sign a new contract at the club and I'm very happy," said Wisdom. "It was an easy decision to make—as soon as they offered it to me, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands because it's a great club and I just want to continue to play for Liverpool.
"I'm happy with the progress I've made so far and hopefully I can progress more in the second half of the season and continue to keep playing. There's still so much hard work ahead. There is big competition within the team and everyone wants to play football. I just hope I can keep progressing and continue in the way I have been."
The 19-year-old defender rose through the ranks of Liverpool's academy at centre back after moving from Bradford City five years ago. This season has made 13 appearances at right back and showed a great deal of promise and a surprising amount of poise for a very young defender playing at an unfamiliar position.
"Getting talent like him, Raheem and others to commit at this point is absolutely essential to the future," added managing director Ian Ayre. "The manager, the owners and everyone have said the key is to build something for the long term—and young players are a catalyst to that. None more so than Andre."
Wisdom joins fellow academy graduates Raheem Sterling and Suso as players who have made the leap to the first team under Brendan Rodgers. All have also this season signed long-term deals to keep them at Anfield while they continue to develop.
"I'm delighted for Andre," said Brendan Rodgers. "He's a young player that's really impressed me with his attitude and football qualities over the course of these first six months and he's grabbed his opportunity. It's great news again for the Academy and the young players that are getting the opportunity and taking it.
"It's a really exciting time for Andre and all the young players at the club. I'm as delighted as I was when Luis Suarez signed a new deal in the summer because every player that commits is a symbol of our togetherness and our unity here—and he obviously wants to be a part of that."