Liverpool set to pay £800,000 to sign 14-year-old lauded by Yaya Toure

As their post-Brexit youth recruitment continues across the UK, Liverpool are reportedly set to sign a 14-year-old defender for as much as £800,000.

Following the execution of Brexit, clubs in England are no longer able to sign players from outside of the UK until their 18th birthday.

Stefan Bajcetic was Liverpool’s final foreign signing for the academy, with the focus turning to the best youngsters from England, Scotland and beyond.

The likes of Kaide Gordon, Bobby Clark and Ben Doak have all been brought in since the rules changed, and the influx is set to continue this summer.

Beyond interest in Irish striker Mason Melia, the 15-year-old who scored on his debut for St Patrick’s Athletic in January, Liverpool are expected to sign 14-year-old Harvey Owen from Wolves.

According to The Secret Scout, this will be for a lofty fee of £800,000.

It is a sizeable outlay for a player who is not yet even 15, with the club having only paid £600,000 for Doak after his Celtic first-team debut.

Nevertheless, it shows Liverpool’s commitment to strengthening their youth ranks, which continues to be viewed as an important source for the senior side.

Owen comes with the backing of an unlikely figure in Yaya Toure – who now works at Tottenham – as Wolves academy coach Wes Hughes told the club’s official website in October.

“We recently played at Tottenham and he had a nice pat on the back from an ex-player in Yaya Toure,” Hughes explained.

“He personally went up to Harvey and said that he had a lot of potential and would be a really good player in the future, so I think he’ll be really proud of that.”

Hughes went on to explain Owen’s ability as a player, with the teenager currently most comfortable as a left-sided centre-back.

“Harvey was introduced to the group last year as a 13-year-old playing in the under-15s youth cup,” he added.

“The boys went on and did quite well in the competition and got to the semi-final – Harvey was a part of that journey and the boys really took to him as a younger player.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, September 13, 2022: Liverpool's Kenny Dalglish (3rd from R) with Academy Director Alex Inglethorpe (C) and sporting director Julian Ward (3rd from L) during the UEFA Youth League Group A Matchday 2 game between Liverpool FC Under-19's and AFC Ajax Under-19's at the Liverpool Academy. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“He’s a right-footed player who likes to play on the left side at the back – whether that’s in a back three or a back four.

“He’s come on leaps and bounds in terms of his football.

“We truly believe if he can overcome some difficulties and embrace some of the adversity, he can surprise a few.”

If Owen is to join Liverpool, he would likely arrive as an under-16s player, with his progress through the ranks taken slowly despite the £800,000 price tag.