Oh, what could have been. Barely 18 months after bursting on the scene in a Merseyside derby man of the match performance, Jordan Ibe looks to have called it quits on his Anfield career in an all but finalized £15 million move to Premier League upstarts, Bournemouth.
The former academy star has reportedly said his good-byes to the team and cleaned out his locker at Melwood following an unsuccessful, last ditch attempt to secure a move to a destination other than the coastal club. However, with linkages to Newcastle, amongst other Premier League teams, failing to bear fruit, Ibe is said to have agreed to personal terms with the Cherries.
It marks the end to what appeared destined to be an exciting career at Liverpool. As the seemingly ready-made, bigger, stronger replacement for the then-recently departed Raheem Sterling, Ibe made a promising start to his early loan recall from Derby County in the latter half of the 2014-15 season.
His pace and power brought a direct, fearless style of play to a squad that was lacking all the above. Furthermore, a maiden first team goal against Rubin Kazan in the early days of Klopp’s reign looked to further continue his upward trajectory.
Somewhere along the line however, his momentum sputtered out, and the England U-21 international has appeared less and less likely to make that crucial transition to actualizing his considerable potential.
Never quite improving his substandard decision making on the ball, he started to display that frustrating trait pacy, confident young players have a habit of developing in trying to dribble the world and running down blind alleyways.
The writing was on the wall, and with the rise of the significantly more-refined Sheyi Ojo to the first team, as well as the addition of £30 million fellow wide man, Sadio Mane to the squad, this transfer had an air of inevitability to it.
Then again, all things told, he is still only 20-bloody-years old. Crikey. Makes you wonder how any young English player is supposed to develop while surviving the social-media-24-hour-news-cycle industrial complex, with bloggers like myself wagging our fingers from our couches on high. If a move does go through as it looks likely to, we wish him all the best.
How about that rumored £15 million transfer fee though, amiright? Looks like it pays in sports these days to ask for a little more money at the TV rights negotiating table.