With Liverpool Football Club contending only for domestic trophies this season (no, the International Champions Cup does not count), the writing was always on the wall for the once-heralded prospect Jordon Ibe. After forcing his way into the first team picture under Brendan Rodgers, the winger never quite sustained the rapid development that once threatened to make everyone forget about Raheem Sterling.
Instead, with no European matches, and with incoming recruits, returning loanees, and Academy stars all taking a bit of the luster off Ibe's prospects (to say nothing of playing time), it was hardly surprising that Ibe found a new home this summer on the south coast with AFC Bournemouth. A bit more surprising: the transfer fee - a club record £15m - as well as a purported buyback clause that would offer Liverpool some protection in the event Ibe recaptures his rising star status.
Looking to the season ahead with Eddie Howe, Ibe rightfully notes that playing time is essential at this stage of his career, and that minutes would have been tougher to come by with Liverpool than with Bournemouth:
They had great players at Liverpool and I just felt that it was time for me to leave and crack on. It was a tough one – but I needed to think about what’s best for me, and that’s playing football.
And when you look at it, Liverpool and Bournemouth are fighting for the same things because they are in the same competitions. Liverpool are not in the Europa League, so would coming here really make a difference? I would have more chances to play at Bournemouth than Liverpool, so it doesn’t really matter.
Ouch. From a certain point of view*, Ibe's not exactly wrong that Bournemouth and Liverpool are in the same competitions, but from another point of view, nooooooope. We've always liked the cut of your jib, J. Ibe, so best of luck to you against plucky overachievers Manchester United, but let's make sure things don't get awkward if and when Liverpool decide to exercise that buyback clause.
* As the disembodied spirit of an old Alec Guinness once said, "you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view."