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Red Herring Rumours: Demarai Gray

The England U21 winger is an interesting prospect, but there is nothing indicating he's on Jürgen Klopp's radar.

Leicester City v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Players and their agents using the — false or genuine — threat of interest from elsewhere to drive contract negotiations with their current club is nothing new. When you're only a year into your contract and only made nine starts in your first season, however, pushing for more money is a stretch. In such a case, using a similar tactic to strengthen your position in search of playing time might be sensible.

And that is where we find Demarai Gray. The 21-year old didn't exactly light up the Premier League for champions Leicester City (oh right, that happened) last year, but then he was only given 1000 or so minutes to prove himself, starting only nine matches and going the full 90 twice. Both Claudio Ranieri and Craig Shakespeare preferred Riyad Mahrez and Marc Albrighton for the majority of the season, and the former Birmingham man struggled to establish any sort of rhythm.

As a result, Gray and his representative are seeking assurances of playing time next season, and are attempting to use alleged interest from Liverpool and Tottenham to convince Shakespeare and Leicester to comply. The Reds were linked with Gray before his £4.7m move last summer, but there is absolutely nothing to suggest that the player is even on Jürgen Klopp's radar at this point. Mohamed Salah — who plays in a similar position and possesses similar, but more developed talents — has been added, and the club seems entirely focused on completing the long-drawn sagas of Naby Keïta and Virgil van Dijk before anything else. The suggestion of a £20m transfer fee further drives home the point that this is all very improbable.

Gray is an interesting prospect, possessing lightning speed and effective dribbling, but he has struggled to deliver end product at the senior level and is at least one season of consistent production away from a move to any of the current top six sides. Best of luck to him in his hunt for minutes next season, but this is a rumour one can safely give a wide berth, for now.

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