Liverpool have had a difficult time in recent seasons re-signing some of their brightest youth prospects to new deals, with the club intent to not pay over the odds wages for largely unproven talent. Now, it appears that 19-year-old winger Sergi Canos could be the latest victim of stalled contract negotiations.
Canos is thought of highly at the club, and following an impressive loan spell with Brentford this past season, he made his senior debut in the final league game of the season. As was the case with recently departed Jordan Rossiter, wages have stalled his contract talks, and Liverpool have now hinted he may be available for £4M.
Following word that negotiations had stalled, the Liverpool Echo reported that the club would listed to offers of at least that amount for the young Spaniard who Liverpool signed away from Barcelona’s academy in 2013. There have been further suggestions that Canos, disillusioned by the negotiations, has asked for a move.
According to BT sport, the youngster has asked to leave the club and would favour a move to a London club. It is believed that Queens Park Rangers were impressed by his showing with fellow Championship side Brentford this year and have been actively tracking him, and as such they may represent his most likely destination.
Watford, who recently signed Jerome Sinclair—another Liverpool prospect who failed to agree a new contract—are also believed to be interested, along with a handful of clubs in Portugal and Spain. So too are Rangers, who recently snapped up Jordan Rossiter when talks broke down between Liverpool and the midfielder.
Whether or not any of those players was set to take the next step at Liverpool, the recent trend of the club’s best prospects departing before they’ve even had the chance should have the club questioning its approach to youth development and asking whether the way they enter into negotiations with youth players is viable long-term.
Since the departure of Raheem Sterling following a contract impasse, this has been a worrying trend, and yet for many fans it remains easy to simply write off each instance as though it’s an isolated case. To say that it doesn’t matter because Jordon Ibe will be better or Kevin Stewart will be better. Or that Sergi Canos will be better.
It’s worth remembering that while Aidy Ward is rightly a target of ire amongst Liverpool fans for his role in the Stelring case, the player repeatedly stated that had the club made one of their later offers at an early stage he would have signed a new deal instead of growing disillusioned and beginning to seriously consider a move.
Perhaps Sergi Canos will never be good enough to have broken through to the first team at Liverpool, but there were signs as recently as a few weeks ago that many at the club thought he had a real chance. Now he seems set to become the latest name added to the growing list of youth players who left after negotiations broke down.