The news of Loris Karius’ two-year loan to Beşiktaş (a deal which, let’s face it, is likely to become permanent) may have bumped Simon Mignolet into the No. 2 slot on Liverpool’s goalkeeping depth chart, but the Belgian keeper is not letting that freshly-squeezed development alter a rather sour view of his current role at the club.
Speaking to Brussels-based Het Laatse Nieuws, the message from Mignolet’s camp seems absolutely clear: he wants to leave, and there are questions about whether or not manager Jürgen Klopp values the Belgian international.
“I have always been clear: I want to play,” Mignolet is quoted as stating. “Number two or number three makes little difference. Playing minutes are the most important.”
“Nothing has been told to me after the departure of Loris,” added the keeper. “So I do not know how my future at Liverpool is. We’ll see what happens this week.”
“This week” refers, of course, to the final phase of the European transfer window, during which Premier League clubs will be allowed to offload players elsewhere (with the window for inbound transfers having closed earlier).
While there have been noises about potential suitors (notably Napoli, Fenerbahçe, and Beşiktaş, where Karius now resides), the question remains as to whether Liverpool will countenance Mignolet’s departure during this window, with Caoimhin Kelleher and Kamil Grabara as the only remaining alternatives at the position. It’s an unlikely scenario, and if it happens, Liverpool will be taking an enormous risk.
But Mignolet has made it clear he’s not entirely happy about playing the role of an insurance policy this season. Making the odd appearance in the Premier League and in domestic cup competitions is not how the keeper envisioned his year going, and he had some facts to lay down in his interview.
“I find it bizarre that Karius is loaned, while I also had options to be loaned,” observed Mignolet. “But for some reason that was not possible. A goalkeeper who was preferred over me last year may leave on loan. Strange.”
What Mignolet is omitting, of course, is that but for a disastrous Champions League final performance which had ripple effects far beyond the scoreline, Karius probably still would be ahead of the Belgian on Klopp’s list. But the final did happen, and there were doubts as to whether Karius would be able to put it all behind him quickly enough. Hence the loan. And that is story of how Simon Mignolet ended up as Liverpool’s No. 2 keeper this season.