As a key member of Uruguay’s 2011 Copa America winning side and winner of that edition’s young player of the tournament award, Sebastian Coates arrived at Anfield for £7M and bringing with him some fairly high expectations. The hope was the towering South American could become the club’s next Sami Hyypia. Instead, he drifted in and around the first team and never quite looked ready to make the breakthrough.
Now, having finished the season strong on loan with Sunderland, it looks like he may be ready, but if reports at either end—with both Liverpool and Sunderland’s Echo claiming a deal is nearly done—are on the money, the 24-year-old won’t be getting that chance with Liverpool. Both believe that a deal of around £4M would see Coates move to the Black Cats permanently, and that really it’s not a matter of if but when that deal gets done.
Coates only made 13 appearances for Sunderland last season, but he was a regular down the stretch and key to their survival in the Premier League. Manager Dick Advocaat, having until recently not planned to stick around past the end of the season, has now changed his mind, delaying his retirement and committing to another season at the Stadium of Light. And he has reportedly targeted Coates’ retention as key to the club’s summer plans.
Though it’s hard not to wonder if there might still be a place for Coates at Anfield given his clear talent when he arrived, it seems a move that would benefit all parties. Given he only has a year left on his contract, at £4M his sale would also seem to represent Liverpool’s best possible return on the Uruguayan centre half. That fee would likely be immediately reinvested in another defensive prospect, 19-year-old Charlton centre half Joe Gomez.
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