Liverpool headed into the summer intent on signing 17-year-old fullback Ryan Sessegnon from Fulham, planning on giving the youngster a season or two backing up James Milner in the league and Europe before taking over from the veteran full time. That plan, though, quickly ran into trouble.
First, there were rumblings that Sessegnon had chosen Tottenham, preferring to remain in London if he was to make the switch from the club he joined as a nine-year-old. Now, though, Tottenham have also missed out on the player, as he has changed his plans from staying in London to staying at Fulham.
Ryan, along with twin brother Steven, have both signed their first professional contracts, with the more prominent of the duo identifying playing time as a major factor in his decision to remain at the Championship for at least the immediate future.
“I’m excited to see what’s in front of me at this club,” he said following the announcement that he had signed a three-year deal earlier today. “Last year I got a lot of opportunities from the gaffer, and I just want to continue that.”
It’s undeniably good news for Fulham. In the short term, they keep a promising young player good enough to start every week for them in the Championship. And in the longer term, they are likely to see a bigger payday when they do sell him on in a season or two.
It’s also, though, potentially good news for Liverpool, who look set to head into the season with James Milner their starting left back and do not consider the position a pressing, immediate concern. That’s because when Sessegnon had looked set to head to Spurs, it had been in order to stay close to his family.
As talented as he is, Sessegnon is still just 17, and with his twin brother also at Fulham it would have been difficult for him to uproot and move to Liverpool this summer. Next summer, though, or the summer after, and such a move would start to become easier for him.