Liverpool’s swoop to sign Fulham youngster Harvey Elliott had appeared to be all but a done deal. It seemed that the Premier League’s youngest ever player was heading to Anfield, no questions asked.
However, that no longer appears to be the case. The Daily Record reported on Friday that the Reds are yet to agree a compensation figure with the Cottagers for the 16-year-old, and have, in fact, not even made an offer yet.
Elliott is available to sign on a free, but a compensation fee must be agreed because of his tender age, and if it is not then an independent tribunal will decide the amount Liverpool have to pay Scott Parker’s side.
The problem for Jurgen Klopp’s team there, then, is that the Record’s report states that Fulham regard Elliott as just as talented as Borussia Dortmund superstar Jadon Sancho, suggesting that the Reds will have to fork out quite a large amount to secure the teenager’s signature.
If you’re a Liverpool supporter reading this and you’re suffering from deja vu, allow me to explain why. The Independent reported in April 2016 that the Reds were ordered to pay a record £8million compensation fee to Burnley after they’d signed striker Danny Ings on a free transfer the previous summer.
Now, it seems eminently likely that Liverpool will have to pay much more than that amount in order to legally complete their signing of one of English football’s hottest prospects in Elliott.
Fulham are playing hard-ball, here, regarding Liverpool’s impending acquisition of the youngster as a direct challenge to English football’s academy system. The Cottagers were unable to offer Elliott professional terms until his 17th birthday, despite his previous contract running out this summer, which allowed the Reds to swoop in.
Now, it appears that Klopp’s team could be about to jump into an even fiercer battle than the one they were in with Burnley for the Ings fee, which resulted in a record number. This time, we could be about to witness an even bigger compensation payment ordered.