Sergi Canos – Liverpool’s Brightest Prospect?

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As the 2012/13 football season comes to a close, the various transfer rumours will begin. This is no different for Liverpool’s academy.

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After a very successful season for Steve Cooper’s Under 18s, where they finished in the top 3 of the league, and progressed to the FA Youth Cup Semi Final, they will be looking to go one better and because of this, Cooper is looking to strengthen his squad.

Liverpool’s biggest interest comes in the form of 16 year old Forward Sergi Canos. The Barcelona star, born in 1997, has attracted interest from various English clubs including Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City but it seems the young Spaniard wants to join Liverpool.

Barcelona are very interested in keeping the young striker but it seems that Liverpool are favourites to buy the forward due to the amount that they are offering for his services. The main advantage Liverpool has over his home club, is that the FA allows contracts to be handed out at 16, whereas the Spanish FA has a policy where he cannot be presented a contract at 16 years of age.

Canos is notably known by many for scoring a hat-trick aged just 14 in Barcelona’s 3-0 victory over Cornella FC, and his performance that game, just goes to show why he is attracting a lot of attention from big clubs like Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool.

Canos’ main strength is his ability to score goals, as shown against Cornella in January 2011 and more recently on 27th October when the Spaniard scored 5 goals in a 6-1 demolition of Badalona. This was when Spanish journalists compared him to Barcelona starlet Lionel Messi, because like Canos, Messi scored 5 goals but this time in a 7-1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League. His goal scoring ability will help Steve Cooper’s Under 18s next season, as the addition of Canos will support Jerome Sinclair and Seyi Ojo going forward, as well as allowing defensive midfielders Jordan Rossiter and Cameron Brannagan to stay back and support the defence.

Another ability that Canos possesses is his intelligence and awareness both on and off the ball. He reads the game very well and can predict where certain balls are being played to and unlike most young Forwards running behind the defence, Canos can time his runs perfectly and this was evident in all his goals versus Cornella, especially the first one as he was aware the ball was going to be played between the centre-back and fullback, so his turned the defender off the ball, looked up and calmly slotted in past the keeper.

Also, his strength is another valuable ability that belongs to Sergi Canos. Judging by the video clips of Canos, he holds the ball up very well, and this played a part in the first goal vs Cornella. His strength is not just good when holding up the ball, he is also very strong and determined when he has the ball at his feet. His 3rd goal against Cornella was a great example of his strength on the ball. Despite having 4 defenders around him, Canos fended off the defenders to skilfully slot home to complete a memorable hat-trick.

However, although being just 16 years of age, there are some reports that he will fit in straight into Alex Inglethorpe’s Under 21 squad. A better option would be to do what the Reds did with Jordon Ibe this season whereby he starts off in the Under 18s to get used to the English style of youth football, then at Christmas promote him to the Under 21s if he has performed well, and then possibly introduce him to first team football at the end of the 2013/14 season.

Also, because of Canos being developed as a Barcelona player, he will play in the style of the Catalan giants so that will be a benefit to Liverpool because of Liverpool’s ‘Tika-Taka’ style of football, meaning it will take the Spaniard less time to adapt to English football.

Another quality of Canos is his pace and versatility. The forward can also play as an attacking midfielder or a winger, and that versatility will help him settle into Liverpool even more as he can play in different roles if asked to. His pace is also good, and with the combination of pace and intelligence, Canos has the potential to develop into a very dangerous player in the future. Canos has some healthy experience at a high level as he has represented Spain at Under 16 level, and played a pivotal role in the Reino de Leon youth tournament for Barcelona in 2011.

A deal has not been officially confirmed by any party, however reports did suggest that Canos was at Melwood on Monday to put pen on paper and sign a deal with the Reds. The signing of Canos will be a big boost for the Reds, and will be the second Spanish signing for the Academy after Suso came to the Reds from Spanish side Cádiz in 2010.

With so many qualities, it seems that Canos is the all round perfect player, but this is not the case as he does have a few flaws. Firstly, the language barrier will be difficult for Canos, especially due to the lack of Spanish players in the academy, however with Spanish speaking players in the first team such as Lucas, Luis Suarez and Suso, Canos will find it easier settling in at Liverpool. Then, because he is only 16 years of age, it will be difficult for him to leave his family, but his hunger to play first team football should overcome his homesickness, and Sergi Canos will hopefully turn out to be a very big prospect for Liverpool.

Scott Taylor (@scotttayloruk)

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