Sunday 22 April 2018

Kuyt flies from Anfield in £1m Fenerbahce deal

Chris Bascombe

Dirk Kuyt has rejected the chance to be a key part of Brendan Rodgers' new-look Liverpool by signing for Turkish side Fenerbahce.

Kuyt has invoked a clause allowing him to quit Anfield for just £1m. The 31-year-old's decision follows a discouraging final year on Merseyside when he was named only as a substitute for both Liverpool's cup finals.

Rodgers was eager to retain Kuyt's services, making it clear every member of the Liverpool squad would have a fresh start. The Northern Irishman certainly did not immediately sanction his sale but was helpless to prevent it.

The exit clause in Kuyt's contract -- now recognised as a misjudgment by the Anfield hierarchy -- meant Liverpool could not stand in the Dutchman's way if he received a lucrative offer from abroad.

Kuyt has moved to Turkey on a three-year contract on terms believed to be worth £3m a season.

"After six years I am ready for a new challenge," Kuyt said. "Liverpool, I will always carry in my heart. The appointment of the new coach has nothing to do with it. But when Fenerbahce came to me and made their ambitions known, from the first moment I was sold. They give me the confidence that I lost."

To lose a player of Kuyt's calibre for such a paltry fee is a setback for Rodgers, who knows replacing someone who is a key member of Holland's Euro 2012 squad for a similar price is virtually impossible.

Kuyt joined Liverpool from Feyenoord for £9m in 2006, finally ending his trophy drought when he scored after coming off the bench in last season's Carling Cup final against Cardiff.

He built his reputation as a player who shone on the biggest occasions, while his hard-working style endeared him to the crowd. His most notable highlights were a hat-trick against Manchester United and the winner against Alex Ferguson's side in last season's FA Cup tie at Anfield.

He also scored in the 2007 Champions League final when Liverpool were beaten 2-1 by AC Milan in Athens.

For his first five seasons he rarely missed a game and totalled nearly 300 appearances for the club, scoring 71 goals, mainly from a right-midfield position.

Under the management of Kenny Dalglish, however, he had begun to play a more peripheral role and it was clear disillusionment was setting in during the middle of last season.

Kuyt expressed his frustrations as he was benched for the biggest fixtures and admitted last week his agent was negotiating with numerous European teams.

His former club, Feyenoord, had also tried to lure him from Anfield.

Meanwhile, West Ham have confirmed that England goalkeeper Rob Green will leave the club when his contract expires at the end of this month. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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