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Liverpool's unspoken transfer need affecting Jarrod Bowen, Eduardo Camavinga and Nat Phillips

Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror

We're at the point of peak transfer excitement, and for a club like Liverpool the links appear almost daily.

Saul Niguez, Florian Neuhaus, Kingsley Coman, Yves Bissouma, Youri Tielemans, Renato Sanches, they're all in there and they're all being linked to the Reds in various guises, but the constant transfer tales often overlook one fairly important factor.

Not long after the closure of the transfer window, Premier League clubs have to register a squad of up to 25 players who are aged 21 and over, of which no more than 17 can be classified as non-homegrown.

A homegrown player, in this sense, is someone who has been registered with a club from either England or Wales for three seasons before they've turned 21, regardless of their nationality.

With the squad lists submitted twice each season, once after each transfer window, Liverpool have to ensure that they keep an eye on their number and ensure that it doesn't exceed the limit.
Van Dijk was taken out of the squad after his injury at Everton (Image: PA)

With last season's squads submitted just days after Virgil van Dijk sustained his injury at Everton, Liverpool were able to take out the Dutchman just in case a free transfer opportunity presented itself and they could snap up a defender. With Van Dijk in, the squad was at the maximum of 25 players with 17 non-homegrown.

Things have shifted somewhat since then, but the non-homegrown issue is still one that Liverpool are having to keep a close eye on.

The exit of Gini Wijnaldum did of course free up a spot, but that was taken by Ibrahima Konate (the Frenchman is just too old to miss out on the under-21 list and therefore be exempt, as clubs are allowed as many of those players as they want from any nationality).

Elsewhere goalkeeper Adrian's new contract and extra year at Liverpool was something of a surprise because of the homegrown issue, especially with the Spaniard expected to start the new season as third-choice behind Alisson and Caoimhin Kelleher.

Many clubs bring in experienced British stoppers - Tom Heaton and Lee Grant at Manchester United, Rob Green at Chelsea, Scott Carson at Manchester City - for this exact reason.

But Liverpool have kept Adrian on, suggesting that they don't see the homegrown issue as too much of a problem just yet. Klopp also quite likes the goalkeeper and thinks he's a positive influence around the place.
Adrian may have had ups and downs at Liverpool, but he is well-liked in the squad (Image: Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

The Reds did re-register Van Dijk in their squad for the second half of last season in early February, with the loan exit of Takumi Minamino, the signing of Ben Davies and the fact that Ozan Kabak didn't need to be registered taking the total to 16 non-homegrown and nine homegrown in the 25.

Since then reserve striker Joe Hardy has left to bump it down to eight, and although it isn't an issue right now, Klopp will doubtless already be thinking of the day when the likes of Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott graduate from the under-21 list and have to be registered on the main one.

The exits of Marko Grujic and Taiwo Awoniyi will have helped with the ongoing issue, but the pair were never realistically going to be on there anyway this season.

What Klopp will surely want is a couple of his bigger foreign names to decide that life on the Anfield fringes isn't for them any more, with a move elsewhere perhaps appealing to the likes of Minamino, Xherdan Shaqiri or Divock Origi as they chase first-team football.

It is in this environment that transfer links around a move for West Ham's Jarrod Bowen, an exit for defender Nat Phillips, the unlikely hero of last season, and even a move for Rennes' bright young midfielder Eduardo Camavinga also have to be taken into account.

You can see why Klopp would like the hard-working Bowen, and the fact that he is English will only sweeten the deal.

The conundrum over Phillips, meanwhile, is that Liverpool will probably never get more money for him than they would right now, but again he is a valuable English player in the squad. Lots would have to be considered if he was allowed to depart.

And in Camavinga Liverpool could bring in a superbly promising midfield player who, at just 18, wouldn't have to be added to the main squad in order to play.

The Reds could dodge the non-homegrown issue and solve a post-Wijnaldum problem.

A clever way around it? Perhaps.

But it is a squad concern that has crept up on Liverpool over the years, and now they need to solve it.

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