Liverpool have been heavily linked with four players ahead of the summer transfer window. Three of whom are meant to arrive and at least compete for starting positions, and one in Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon who is intended to provide depth next season and the club’s long-term left back solution.
However, in recent weeks the rumblings coming from Fulham have suggested it will be a tough sell, both to convince Sessegnon to take a backup role behind James Milner for at least one season and also to convince Fulham that it’s worth letting their 16-year-old rising star leave the club.
“I’m confident he will be a Fulham player,” was Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic’s response when pressed on the matter today. “It depends not just on myself but on different sides, too, but I believe this is the right place for him. He is a young player and he needs to learn—he needs the minutes.”
Sessegnon, who turns 17 in two weeks, has been Fulham’s breakout star this season, having now made 29 first team appearances—and averaging 66 minutes on the pitch for each one of those—while scoring seven goals and adding five assists. He has also been linked with Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester United.
Fulham, meanwhile, are currently clinging on to the final Championship playoff spot and remain hopeful of a long-shot return to the Premier League next season. And no matter whether they achieve that or not, the idea at the club is for Sessegnon to be their first choice left back next year.
Liverpool will need to convince the player it’s worth taking on a smaller role at Anfield rather than spending a few more years at Craven Cottage as a key starter, and that could be difficult. If they can’t do so, the club are likely to look elsewhere, with a purchase and loan-back deal not likely to appeal.
While Liverpool believe Sessegnon would develop into the long-term answer for the club at left back, just as important for their plans would be his role spelling James Milner as the club are set to return to Europe next season and will expect to play more than 50 games across all competitions.
“I believe he is in the right place for building himself and to be ready for an important step that is in front of him,” Jokanovic added. “All his life he is with Fulham and I am sure he is confident with us. I believe he has seen improvement and I believe he believes he is in the right place.”