Pre-season training is in full swing and already two of Liverpool's brightest defensive prospects have been linked with temporary moves elsewhere to continue their development. Tiago Illori and Andre Wisdom probably need another season of top flight first-team football to gain further experience and hone their game intelligence defensively but there are some young talents who could provide the necessary depth that was painfully lacking last season. Enter Jesús Joaquín Fernández Sáez de la Torre, otherwise known as Suso.
The 20 year-old Spanish youth international played a pivotal role in helping Almería retain its status in La Liga and Suso's time at the Andalusian club was undoubtedly productive as well as educational. 26 starts in 33 games in La Liga was provided enough game time for Suso to develop his game and his creativity shone with 7 assists along with 3 goals from both sides of the attack. Even with questions about his discipline (9 yellow cards and 1 red) and defensive work rate, Suso would appear to be a player who should be a player whose development should be prioritised with another loan or a chance to fight for minutes.
The problem for Liverpool seemed to be that Suso may have been reluctant to sign a new contract with one year remaining, a position that would most certainly force Liverpool to sell the player with some clauses for the club's benefit further down the line. As the player is only 20 and still relatively inexperienced, the ideal solution would be for both the club and player to come to an agreement on a new deal. Thankfully, Suso has confirmed that his intention is to remain with Liverpool in an interview with the official site.
After the season in Spain, I think I have become a better player - I learned a lot. Obviously Liverpool are going to sign a lot of players because we are in the Champions League this season, and we have to have a good squad because there are a lot of competitions. But if I fight for my place, I do my best every day in training and when I have the chance to come on or start a game, if I do well, I could have chances to play a lot of minutes in the first team.
Those are the type of words Brendan Rodgers wants to hear. A player ready to "fight for his life" and give as many percentages as possible in pursuit of a brighter Liverpool future. That Suso understands what the club is trying to do in the transfer window and accepts this challenge is heartening. He has been following the fortunes, wants to learn, and reflected at length on his time on loan in Spain. Suso was one of the youngsters trusted over more established players in Rodgers' first season and could be seen as one of his acolytes along with the likes of Raheem Sterling. Suso revealed that his exchanges with the manager in December have led him to believe that he is wanted and Liverpool's number thirty is on the same page.
I came here in December at Christmas when I had my week of holidays. In Spain, we have a one-week break at Christmas and I came here for two or three days to have a meeting with the manager.He talked to me, said he was happy with what I was doing and said that this season he wants me to stay here. I want to stay here and sign a new deal.For me, there is no bigger club than Liverpool. The crowd, the people, the stadium and the Kop - that's a feeling that you cannot explain. You have to live that just to know what you feel.It's a really good experience. Last season I was at many stadiums and I never saw a stadium like Anfield. My option is to stay here, sign a new contract and fight for my place.
So there you have it. Suso wants to stay and Brendan Rodgers told him that he wants the player to stay. Maybe words cannot be taken at face value in the transfer window where things can change very quickly and of course, there are realities for young players in terms of development and and opportunities but it seems that Suso will be part of Liverpool's furniture beyond the summer.
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