Liverpool are close to completing a transfer for 16-year-old Newcastle winger Bobby Clark, son of club legend Lee Clark, who will sign a scholarship deal.
Clark (pictured centre) is considered one of the most exciting players in the Magpies’ academy, having made his debut for their under-18s side at just 14 in 2019.
A goalscoring midfielder, the teenager has received an offer for a scholarship with Newcastle, but is set to turn that down in favour of a move to Liverpool to join the U18s.
The deal is expected to be finalised in the near future, with “the bulk of an agreement in place,” and the youngster “looks certain to be wearing red next season” despite previous interest from Tottenham, Man City, Man United and Bayern Munich.
Newcastle would be required compensation for their role in Clark’s development, though that is only likely to be nominal fee, rather than a seven-figure payment.
Players are able to move freely between clubs before they sign scholarship deals, and are unable to agree professional contracts until they turn 17 – which for Clark will be in February.
If he joins Liverpool as expected, then, he would be on scholar’s terms like three other recent signings in Kaide Gordon, Stefan Bajcetic and Calum Scanlon.
The signings of Gordon, Scanlon and potentially Clark point to a shift in Liverpool’s recruitment policy at academy level, in line with the new post-Brexit restrictions on signing players under the age of 18 from overseas.
Liverpool have been forced to look closer to home, which could aid them in the long run despite the disadvantage of not being able to procure the best young talent from other markets.
There is a strong British core to the Reds’ academy ranks, with the likes of Gordon, Layton Stewart, Harvey Davies, Owen Beck, James Norris, Tom Hill, Tyler Morton, Dominic Corness, James Balagizi, Isaac Mabaya and Max Woltman all standouts.
With no changes to the Premier League‘s homegrown rules anticipated as of yet, the club would be advised to nurture their local players as part of a long-term plan for the first team.