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Liverpool Could Lose Sinclair to Spain on a Free Transfer

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Rumour has it that Jerome Sinclair could move to Espanyol in the summer, depriving Liverpool of significant compensation for the want-away 19-year-old striker.

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With not much first team action in the transfer market, many Liverpool fans have been left following the odd case of youngster Jerome Sinclair as the main January transfer story. Sinclair has looked on his way out of the club since at least last summer, when he hired Raheem Sterling’s agent Aidy Ward to represent him and turned down the offer of a new deal to stay at Anfield.

Now, with his contract running down, he has been linked with Manchester City and Watford this month. The City links seemed fanciful at best, but Watford—rumoured to be interested in paying a small fee to convince Liverpool to let him go six months early—seemed a plausible landing spot for the want-away 19-year-old striker. Since first popping up, though, those links have quickly died away.

In their place this week is a report from the BBC that Sinclair has now chosen to wait it out until his contract expires in the summer and that his most likely destination is Spain, where he has been linked with a move to Barcelona’s second club, Espanyol. The struggling mid-table side could certainly use some scoring help, and there are certainly worse places a young footballer could seek a move to.

Given how rarely young English players move abroad, it’s something of an odd rumour, and perhaps the most interesting aspect of it is Sinclair moving to a club outside England would see Liverpool receive next to no compensation. A move to Watford or City would see the FA award a fee that could potentially end up in the millions of pounds, compensating Liverpool for the player’s adjudged value.

Outside of England, most federations only award compensation to cover a club’s hard investment in a player’s development. This means compensation rarely runs higher than a few hundred thousand. Moving to Spain in the summer, then, would lead to Liverpool getting nothing back for their investment in Sinclair. With that in mind, it’s easy to imagine the Espanyol rumours being the work of Sinclair’s agent.

If Ward is trying to get Liverpool to let Sinclair go on the cheap before the end of January, the threat of losing him for next to nothing in the summer could be his attempt to force the club to sanction a move to a club like Watford for less than Liverpool would otherwise be willing to accept. Either that or Sinclair really does see his career being best served by moving to a mid-table La Liga side.

About the only thing that’s really clear in all this at the end of the day is, as before, that it appears Sinclair has no intent of remaining at Liverpool beyond the end of his contract, and that anyone holding out hope of a late change of heart from the youngster would be best served accepting that he’s already as good as gone.