Liverpool agree professional contract with Rhian Brewster to end fears he could be lured to Germany
Liverpool have agreed a professional contract with their teenage sensation Rhian Brewster, ending fears the England youth international could quit Anfield.
Manager Jurgen Klopp and sporting director Michael Edwards have been in constant negotiations with Brewster and his representative to secure the 18 year-old on what is understood to be a five-year contract, retaining him until 2023.
The striker’s burning ambition had opened up the possibility of him moving elsewhere where he may have been guaranteed a more rapid promotion to first-team football.
But Klopp and Edwards sought to reassure him the pathway to the Liverpool line-up is there should potential be fulfilled – Brewster will be part of the senior squad when they return to pre-season training – and after a breakthrough in talks he will put pen to paper on the long-term contract in the coming days.
For all the business Liverpool have done and may yet do this summer, tying down Brewster may prove one of the most significant should he take his exceptional form at youth level onto the senior stage.
He was the star of last season’s Under 17 World Cup, winning the golden boot as England were crowned champions. He is regarded one of the most exciting players of his age in world football.
Liverpool were genuinely concerned about losing Brewster at one point at the end of last season - he has been on a scholarship deal despite being eligible for a professional contract since turning 18 in April. Clubs in Germany circled offering a direct route to top level football in the Bundesliga.
The Merseyside club went so far as to threaten Borussia Monchengladbach with a report to Fifa for an illegal approach, with relations soured to the extent a pre-season friendly between the clubs was postponed.
Now the teenager can expect to make his senior debut in a Liverpool jersey in the very near future.
Brewster may have featured in the Premier League already but for an untimely ankle injury towards the end of last season. That may curtail how soon he can start pre-season with the rest of the squad but he is expected to be fit to tour the USA in July.
The determination and influence of Klopp and Edwards in convincing Brewster to remain on Merseyside cannot be underestimated, especially as there has been a growing trend of exciting England youth players moving to Germany.
Liverpool were in a strong position to argue there is no elite manager in the Premier League more determined to give his Academy players a chance. Klopp has consistently demonstrated throughout his career his preference is to coach and develop those players he values at his club before looking elsewhere. The opportunity will be there for Brewster to prove he can challenge the lauded Liverpool front three prior to establishing a starting place as his career develops.
At the end of last season, Klopp asked Brewster to attend the Football Writers’ Association player of the year dinner, alongside Mohamed Salah, so a tribute could be paid to the youngster for publicly expressing his despair over Uefa and Fifa’s lame efforts to combat on-field racist abuse.
Brewster said he was targeted for both club and country, but insufficient evidence meant no action was taken against those he accused.
“Rhian spoke about racism in modern football with the same power, command and composure that he shows when playing,” said Klopp.
This was another sign of how much the Liverpool manager valued the character of the starlet as much as the talent and will surely have helped convince him he is at the right club at this stage of his career.