Liverpool striker Bobby Duncan’s agent has stressed his desire to leave in accusations of bullying against Michael Edwards, citing mental health concerns.
Duncan has been the subject of increasing interest from clubs overseas this year, with the likes of Borussia Dortmund, Porto, FC Nordsjaelland and Fiorentina all linked.
Liverpool reportedly have turned down loan offers recently, with the Serie A side hoping to agree a deal which included an option to buy for £1.6 million next summer.
The club’s stance has been that Duncan was not for sale, and would stay to continue his development at Kirkby—after scoring 30 goals in 43 games for the Reds’ academy in his season on Merseyside.
But in a statement released via his agent Saif Rubie on Wednesday afternoon, Duncan has launched a remarkable attack on Edwards, with the 18-year-old “in real trouble mentally, physically and emotionally.”
“There has been a lot of things said the last few weeks regarding Bobby Duncan’s future at Liverpool,” Rubie wrote.
“And today is the final straw of the behaviour and dealing of Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards.
“A few months ago before the end of last season, Bobby had meetings with the club’s hierarchy including academy director Alex Inglethorpe.
“It was recognised that Bobby wasn’t happy at Liverpool for different reasons and Alex invited us to bring offers to the club for the exit of Bobby Duncan.
“For a player with zero first-team experience, no clubs were prepared to pay an outright unreasonable fee for a player they got for £200,000 last summer.
“With that in mind we have been able to find clubs that were ready to take Bobby on a season-long loan, invest time and effort developing Bobby, with an option to buy for amounts of £1.5 million upwards.
“Which is a great return for the club on a player who will never play for the Liverpool first team and who doesn’t want to be there.
“The club and Michael Edwards specifically made it clear that that kind of deal wouldn’t work.
“So then myself and my team worked even harder and managed to get a deal on the table for a loan with an obligation to buy after five starts with a higher transfer fee than before and a sell-on to Liverpool.
“Michael Edwards doesn’t believe he will make those appearances and even refused to speak to the club in question’s sporting director as they believe they can help develop him.
“So if he doesn’t believe in the player, and he will never play in the LFC first team, why would you even hang onto the player like this?
“Putting all of that aside, the real reason Bobby missed the under-23 game on Monday is because he has suffered some deep mental health issues with all the stress the club has put him under.
“Stress of being told he can leave but then going out of their way to force him to stay against his will.
“Not only is he on a very small salary but he also has one season left on his contract after this one, and Liverpool have flatly said he will not get a new one.
“Bobby has not left his room for four days because of this and will never go back to Liverpool again, and my only concern now is his mental health and well-being.
“The Liverpool hierarchy have shown zero consideration to that and have even gone as far as saying in writing that they will punish him and make him stay at the club until January and beyond to teach him a lesson.
“This is not really dignified behaviour from a club with the rich history of Liverpool and one whom one of their greatest-ever players, Steven Gerrard, happens to be Bobby’s cousin.
“It’s a sad state of affairs that a club such as Liverpool can be allowed to get away with mentally bullying and destroying the life of a young man such as Bobby.
“I know one thing for sure, and that is he is never going back there again and he’s on such a small salary that no amount of fines will even make a difference.
“In this situation all that matters is the player’s health, and in this case Michael Edwards has totally ignored that because of his own stubbornness.
“And [he] even called Bobby petulant when in reality the boy is in real trouble mentally, physically and emotionally because of this, and I really pray that his experience doesn’t happen to any young players again.”