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The Promise: On Talent, Expectation, and the Departure of Suso

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A look at expectation, hope and the seeming evergreen promise of Suso, whose permanent transfer to AC Milan was confirmed by Liverpool early Saturday morning.

"...and you MUST let Jose win at least once a week to save his self esteem."
"...and you MUST let Jose win at least once a week to save his self esteem."
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

It's a weird thing, I think, to be so moved about a fringe player leaving as I am about one Jesus Joaquin Fernandez Saenz de la Torre. Having appeared in all of 21 matches at the senior level, his leaving should register little more than a blip on the emotional meter. But something about the plucky lad from Cadiz has always struck a chord with me and so, today, I'm sat here trying to work my feelings out while listening to Bruce Springsteen songs and complaining about "dust." This is not a great look for me.

The thing about promise - or, broadly, hope - is the way it dances tantalizingly within view but always just out of reach. It's in this grasping at ghosts that I will always feel a resonance with Suso - the sumptuous through balls that hinted at vision, the surprisingly defiant defensive work in the middle of the pitch and the absolute thunder when striking the ball. The world class player could almost be seen; almost be made out.

Sadly, more often than not, promise is not enough to keep one's space in a club as big as Liverpool. The arrival of Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic coupled with the ascendancy of Harry Wilson, Joao Carlos Teixeira, and Jordon Ibe has only made things more crowded in the parts of the field that Suso operates. Something had to give and, in the end, the player's need for playing time to further develop won out and off he goes to enjoy warmer summers and, presumably, better food.

And so I'm left dancing in the dark with finely coiffed ghosts threading passes and launching rockets at phantom goalies.We've got one last serenade in the form a highlight reel of young Suso's time in red. Milan better be good to you...