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Liverpool set to sign teenager Irish winger due to post-Brexit loophole

Liverpool are expected to complete a deal for Derry City teenager Trent Kone-Doherty this summer, as their post-Brexit youth recruitment drive continues.

Upon the UK’s exit from the European Union, tighter restrictions were put in place for clubs looking to sign the best young players around Europe.

After the start of 2021, clubs can no longer acquire overseas players under the age of 18, with Stefan Bajcetic, signed from Celta Vigo, the final such arrival at Liverpool.

That has prompted the Reds to adopt a new strategy as they look to bring in the best young talent from the UK, which has seen Kaide Gordon, Bobby Clark and Calum Scanlon sign deals with the club.

According to the Irish Independent, the eye-catchingly named Kone-Doherty is set to follow the same path in a deal worth in the six-figure region.

Kone-Doherty, a right-footed winger who can play on either the left or right, turns 16 at the end of June, and Liverpool are looking to agree a pre-contract deal.

“It’s anticipated that he will end up in Liverpool,” writes Daniel McDonnell, who describes it as an “assertive move” from the Premier League title contenders.

Typically, Liverpool would no longer be able to sign players under the age of 18 from sides in the League of Ireland, but with Derry straddling the Irish border as part of Northern Ireland, the deal does not fall under post-Brexit jurisdiction.

Instead, Kone-Doherty can join on similar terms to Celtic winger Ben Doak, who is also believed to be close to a switch to Anfield following his 16th birthday in November.

Celtic's Ben Doak (Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff)

Both Kone-Doherty and Doak would be available for nominal compensation fees of around £150,000, and are likely to join up with the under-18s before working their way through the academy ranks.

However, with the pair having already gained first-team experience with Derry City and Celtic respectively, there is a chance they are fast-tracked upon their arrival on Merseyside.

Kone-Doherty was part of the Derry City squad for pre-season and was on the bench for their 2-1 win over St Patrick’s Athletic, while Doak made his debut for Celtic against Dundee United in January before coming off the bench in the Old Firm last month.

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