Liverpool make key staff appointment as focus turns to local talent

Following the changes to recruitment rules post-Brexit, Liverpool have made another key appointment to their scouting team to focus on identifying local talent.

With the UK no longer part of the European Union, changes have been made to how clubs in England can sign players from abroad.

Clubs cannot sign players from overseas if they are aged 18 or under, with 16-year-old centre-back Stefan Bajcetic technically their last new arrival having agreed to join from Celta Vigo in a £224,000 deal at the end of December.

There remain grey areas within this, however, with brothers Patrik and Erik Farkas, 14 and 11 respectively, joining from the Kecskemet Academy in Hungary earlier this year, though it is possible those deals were concluded prior to January 1.

In general, Liverpool will now need to look to the UK for signings for their under-18s and below, which has already been seen with the acquisitions of Kaide Gordon and Calum Scanlon from Derby and Birmingham.

To aid this new approach, the club have appointed former Aberdeen head of recruitment Russ Richardson to their scouting team, as reports the Times‘ Paul Joyce.

Richardson joined Aberdeen from Bristol City in 2013, following manager Derek McInnes, but with McInnes now having departed the Scottish side have overseen a shakeup of their staff.

His marquee recommendation while at Pittodrie was striker Sam Cosgrove, who was picked up from Carlisle for just £25,000 before being sold to Birmingham three years later for a fee of around £2 million.

The 56-year-old will work under head of recruitment Dave Fallows and chief scout Barry Hunter, along with sporting director Michael Edwards, in scouring the UK for new talent.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Friday, April 16, 2021: Liverpool’s Conor Bradley during the FA Youth Cup 5th Round match between Leicester City FC and Liverpool FC at the Leicester City Academy. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This is particularly important not only post-Brexit, but also with the need to maintain a homegrown core to the first-team squad for the Premier League.

It will be rare that an unknown gem will be discovered in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland that could slot straight into the senior setup, but there is scope for spotting the next generation to step up.

Conor Bradley, for example, was brought in from Northern Irish side Dungannon United as an 15-year-old in 2019, and two years later is primed to take up duties as backup right-back if Neco Williams departs.

This pathway to the first team is invaluable, and appointments such as Richardson can be key to ensuring it runs as smoothly as possible.