Pedro Chirivella: Should Liverpool keep or sell Spanish youngster this summer?

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Pedro Chirivella is one of a number of Reds whose Liverpool future is uncertain, so should Jurgen Klopp keep or sell the Spanish midfielder this summer?

Chirivella seemed set to play a part in Klopp’s first full season after making his first-team breakthrough in 2015/16.

But an injury-hit first-half of the campaign denied him that role, before he joined Eredivisie side Go Ahead Eagles in time to produce a strong second-half to the season.

Chirivella returns to Anfield facing an uncertain future and a big decision awaits the Spaniard and Klopp with the next step.

So should Liverpool keep or sell Chirivella?

 

The case to keep Chirivella

Pedro Chirivella vs. Tranmere Rovers. Credit: Propaganda

2016/17 didn’t go as Chirivella will have hoped after a breakthrough season which earned him a new long-term contract.

But with injury the reason behind his halted progress, there’s a case to say he should be handed a chance to prove his worth – which he has suggested will arrive:

“I’ve got a contract until 2020. In May I’ll have a month on holiday and on July 1 I’m back in Liverpool with the first team for pre-season. From there, we’ll see what happens.”

With three-years left on his contract – which itself suggests he’s in Klopp’s plans – and only just 20-years-old, time is certainly on Chirivella’s side and he remains a player with big potential.

Indeed, if he can add the physical attributes lacked in his five appearances of 15/16 to his impressive technical game, Liverpool could have a real gem.

Positively, Chirivella showed promise in developing physically and mentally on a tough but rewarding loan at The Eagles.

He impressively took a leading role in a struggling team, scoring and assisting two goals in 17 games, and proved his battling qualities by playing all but five minutes of the relegation scrap.

And having experienced the pressures of top-flight football, all these factors will have improved Chirivella’s readiness for first-team duties at Anfield.

It presents the ideal time for Klopp to integrate the midfielder, but while potential is a big reason to keep him, there’s also what he can offer now.

Chirivella played various midfield roles in Holland – impressing particularly as a deep-lying play-maker but also when box-to-box.

This versatility could be useful for Klopp’s potential rotation in League Cup and FA Cup games – competitions Chirivella would see plenty of game-time.

Questions arise over how and where Chirivella fits in with midfield ranks populated and reinforcements likely to come.

But a bigger squad is needed to compete on four fronts next season, and should Kevin Stewart or Lucas depart as speculated, space will open for a prospect – with Chirivella the ideal option.

 

The case for selling Chirivella

Pedro Chirivella vs. Tranmere Rovers. Credit: Propaganda

While Chirivella has his eyes on a first-team return it’s difficult to see it happening – even with three-years remaining on his deal.

Chirivella is at the stage where he needs to be playing first-team football regularly, but this won’t happen given the options ahead of the Spaniard, who isn’t yet good enough for the top level.

He won’t surpass any of Klopp’s core midfielders or become a go-to option ahead of moving Philippe Coutinho centrally – which could happen more regularly next season.

There’s then also Lucas to usurp – if he stays – and more highly-rated talents in Marko Grujic and Ovie Ejaria who will both command game-time before Chirivella.

And that’s before Klopp bolsters his midfield which seems likely – whether with RB Leipzig’s Naby Keita or another target.

With such players ahead in the pecking order, it leaves Chirivella miles away from a first-team spot and looking at U23s football to gain regular game-time.

But returning to development level after a successful top-flight first-team loan would be a backward step for Chirivella and Liverpool, and therefore shouldn’t be considered.

He needs a full season of first-team action and this has to be his goal for 2017/18.

This almost certainly won’t come at Anfield for reasons outlined, and with doubts over his capability and routes to first-team selection and action limited, it makes sense for Chirivella to leave.

 

Summer exit

LONDON, ENGLAND - Tuesday, February 9, 2016: Liverpool's Pedro Chirivella in action against West Ham United during tche FA Cup 4th Round Replay match at Upton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With all factors considered, Liverpool should probably sell Chirivella this summer – although, a buy-back clause may be a very smart move.

It seems harsh to write off his future after a successful loan and relatively new contract – something which may see a second loan materialise as with Andre Wisdom, who has spent both seasons away from Anfield since signing a new deal in May 2015.

But while it would be great to see Chirivella return to a permanent place, it’s unlikely to happen with the Spaniard not yet at the level required.

Regular chances will be limited with the quality ahead of him, and at this stage of his career, Chirivella needs first-team action to give himself the best chance of a prosperous career in the game.

He certainly has the talent to have one, and for that reason Liverpool need to operate shrewdly once again when negotiating any transfer for the youngster.

‘Buy-back’ clauses were wisely inserted in deals taking Jordon Ibe and Sergi Canos to Bournemouth and Norwich last summer, and it should be implemented for Chirivella who could go on to fulfil his high potential.

It’s never nice seeing an academy product so close to a first-team breakthrough depart, but this summer is time for Liverpool and Chirivella to part ways.

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