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Sale of Liverpool Striker Paves Way for Return to Boyhood Club

The loan of Iago Aspas to Sevilla last season brought with it an option to buy, and the Spanish club exercised that option and, almost immediately, completed a deal to send the striker back to Celta Vigo after two seasons away.

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

It was not a particularly good year for recognized strikers at Liverpool, even if they weren't at Liverpool. Those who remained with the club--Daniel Sturridge, Rickie Lambert, Fabio Borini, and Mario Balotelli--struggled with fitness, form, and falling out of favor, while those on loan had up-and-down seasons at their temporary homes. Divock Origi had a months-long dip in form that mirrored Lille's midseason, while Iago Aspas, who spent the campaign on loan at Sevilla with a view to a permanent deal, struggled to break into the first team with any sort of consistency.

The back-to-back Europa League winners had little need for Aspas, as Kevin Gameiro and Carlos Bacca more than carried the load throughout the season. Aspas never quite broke into the first team, finding few minutes in marquee fixtures and briefly earning accolades for hat-tricks in both legs of the Copa del Rey tie versus second-division side Sabadell. Aside from that, Aspas was on the periphery from start to finish, and his career as a permanent Sevilla player came to an end shortly after it began when it was announced that he would return to Celta Vigo effective July 1.

After barely escaping relegation in Aspas' final season at the club, Celta have managed to stick around in Spain's top flight, and this season they finished just four points off Athletic Bilbao in seventh. During his last stint at Celta, Aspas managed 46 goals in total, with 11 in the 2012-2013 campaign that caught Liverpool's eye. He was among their best at the time, and despite their improved finish, he's sure to figure in the regular eleven as they look to cement more permanent La Liga status.

His exit from Liverpool comes with little fanfare, partly due to the fact that his exit was confirmed long ago and partly because there was not much to speak of during his time at Anfield. He was roundly criticized for a desperately poor corner kick in the loss to Chelsea that derailed Liverpool's title challenge, and he only managed to get on the score sheet once all season in the FA Cup win over Oldham after a promising preseason.

But he always struck a committed, hard-working figure, and while he failed to find more consistent opportunities in his first season away from Anfield, his second--one that will be met with open arms by an adoring fanbase--should be far more positive.

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