In a summer where transfer dealings have been few and relatively low-key — Liverpool have picked up teenagers Sepp van den Berg and Harvey Elliott rather than the big marquee signings many were clamoring for — the manager has made sure to point out that significant funding has gone towards extending the contracts of players already at the club.
Typically, this is in reference to the stars of the team; the Roberto Firminos, Sadio Manés and Mohamed Salahs of the world, but building for the future means making sure the players of tomorrow are committed to the club as well, and on Wednesday, it was revealed that 17-year old Ki-Jana Hoever has signed his first professional contract, pledging his long-term future to the Reds.
“I’m really happy to have signed here,” the 17-year old told the club’s official site.
“I need to be realistic. I hope to make some minutes in the first team this year, of course, but I know that I will probably play more games for the U23s. I will just train hard with the first team, show them what I can do and if there is a chance, I will be ready. That’s what I am hoping for.
“I still need to learn a lot of things,” he continued. “I am still 17, so I just need to keep doing what I am doing to get better at the things that can be better.
“It’s a lot of trust from the club to let me sign this new contract. I will try to do them proud and show what I can do for this club – and I hope these are not the last few years I play here.”
While he doesn’t expect to feature much this season, the former Ajax man has already made his senior debut for the Reds, coming on as a substitute in the fifth minute when Dejan Lovren was injured in last year’s FA Cup clash with Wolverhampton. Encouraging performances at right-back during this summer’s pre-season also ensure that hype is kept at appropriately elevated level in spite of the young man’s humility.
And who knows, with Trent Alexander-Arnold — himself barely out of his teens — the club’s only bonafide right fullback going into the season, there is every chance Klopp will be compelled to look to Hoever as an emergency option at the position over the course of the campaign.