You can't really be apathetic about Jonjo Shelvey. From his defiantly shiny pate to his rarely grounded feet, the young Liverpool midfielder draws attention and polarises opinion. Most Reds fans have warmed to the twenty one year old Londoner, however, and not many will be glad to see him leave Anfield but it would appear to be likely he will depart, with a raft of interest in acquiring the youngster's services, either permanently or on loan.
Swansea chairman, Huw Jenkins has publicly articulated his club's desire to take Shelvey to Wales and it is interesting that a football purist like Michael Laudrup would rate the young international as highly as Brendan Rodgers clearly did. Originally signed by Rafa Benitez, Shelvey has played first team football for Liverpool under Roy Hodgson, Kenny Dalglish and Rodgers, as well as excelling in the Championship at Ian Holloway's Blackpool, whilst on loan. He has represented England at every under-age level and made his senior debut in the 5-0 victory over San Marino, last October.
It's fair to say, then, that Jonjo Shelvey impresses managers. Rodgers famously singled the youngster out for praise and attention in the regrettable Being: Liverpool documentary, appearing at one point to be outlining a vision of a midfield in which the former Charlton man would supplant Steven Gerrard in the engine room, with the skipper being shunted wide -- we all know how that worked out, alas.
Speaking to The South Wales Post, Jenkins said that Swansea had a definite "interest" in Shelvey and that the club were "talking to Liverpool." The chairman's involvement might lead one to believe a permanent move may be on the cards but with nothing confirmed, and a lot of rival interest from other clubs, the situation is unlikely to be quickly resolved. Liverpool signed Shelvey for £1.7m and are likely to receive three or even four times that fee should they move the player on permanently. For all his early promise, and bearing in mind the recent arrivals to the club, Liverpool's decision makers will be tempted to cash-in on their international star.
The aforementioned Ian Holloway, now gaffer at newly-promoted Crystal palace, is also apparently keen to renew his acquaintance with Shelvey. The Guardian are reporting that Palace have contacted Liverpool in the hope of securing a season-long loan for the player and this may be a preferable solution all round, for were Shelvey to come good on those flashes of potential whilst playing regular top-flight football, his return would be a wonderful boost to Liverpool at the beginning of the next campaign, with the player still only twenty two.
With Norwich and West Ham -- that most willing recipient of Liverpool's waifs and strays -- reputedly also in the hunt for Shelvey, there are certainly less and less possibilities of seeing him make his wild challenges at Anfield next season. For what it's worth, I think the big midfielder has all the technical attributes to be a Liverpool regular but I would question his mentality. He has been guilty of both going missing from games and, at the other extreme, losing his composure completely. Whereas we can all applaud a bit of Ferguson-baiting, we could do without a liability in our midfield.
Basically, I think what I'm saying here is that I don't have complete faith in Shelvey to keep his head and not go full Voldemort. There's something about his demeanour which constantly reminds me of the frankly delusional self-analysis by Hamlet at Ophelia's graveside as he squares up to the dead girl's brother.
Hamlet, displaying a stunning lack of self-knowledge was indeed "splentive and rash," much like our chrome-domed midfielder and there is always the hint of something "dangerous" whenever Jonjo takes the field. It's why I like him, so much. It's also why I don't fully trust him at this point of his development.