LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, February 27, 2014: Liverpool's goalkeeper Yusuf Mersin before the Under 21 FA Premier League match against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool signed goalkeeper for ‘£1m’ at 16 – but “unbelievable time” ended sadly

Yusuf Mersin made headlines when he moved from Millwall to Liverpool as a 16-year-old, but his “unbelievable time” at Anfield had a frustrating end.

“The papers were saying I cost £1 million,” Mersin told KentOnline in May.

“It’s nice to have that, although I didn’t see any of the money.”

Mersin’s name made headlines when he swapped Millwall for Liverpool in January 2011, largely due to the fees involved.

Millwall manager Kenny Jackett admitted at the time that it was “impossible to stop a boy leaving when a club such as Liverpool makes an offer,” instead looking to use the funds to “nurture and bring through other promising players.”

The initial fee was reported to be £450,000, with add-ons bringing the package up to £1 million, showing the club’s belief in his potential.

As the player put it: “It’s mad looking back, thinking about it now.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, February 28, 2013: Liverpool's goalkeeper Yusuf Mersin warms-up before the FA Youth Cup 5th Round match against Leeds United at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Unfortunately, after three-and-a-half years on Merseyside, Mersin was released at the end of the near-success of 2013/14.

The youngster, born in London but a Turkish youth international, progressed through the ranks in his time with Liverpool and spent that campaign training and travelling with the first team as well as playing academy football.

“That was the year they were going for the title,” Mersin reflected.

“It was unbelievable to be around so many great players. Simon Mignolet was the first choice and he was unbelievable in training.”

He added: “It was an unbelievable time, going into these team meetings, an unbelievable experience.”

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - Tuesday, July 23, 2013: Liverpool's goalkeeping coach John Achterberg, goalkeeper Danny Ward, goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and goalkeeper Brad Jones during a training session at the Melbourne Cricket Ground ahead of their preseason friendly against Melbourne Victory. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Mersin’s experience as part of Brendan Rodgers’ squad came due to an injury to team-mate Danny Ward, leaving him to work alongside Mignolet and Brad Jones on a daily basis.

That could, realistically, have led to further opportunities, but instead, the promise of that seven-figure transfer fell short.

“I’ll be honest, I thought I was close to getting a new deal,” Mersin explained.

There was a twist, though: “At the end of my contract I was verbally told I would probably get a new deal but I went over on my ankle badly and injured myself, which did for that.”

Liverpool ended the season without a title, falling short as Man City burst their bubble, and Mersin was let go, joining Turkish side Kasimpasa on a free transfer.

A return to England followed with Crawley, Dover Athletic and Mainstone United, the latter of which have just confirmed his release after a loan at Welling United.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 16, 2014: Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers before the Premiership match against Manchester United at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Now 28, dropping from being part of a Premier League first-team squad to playing in the sixth tier could see feelings of disappointment for Mersin.

But he looks back on his time at Liverpool with nothing but pride, despite its sad ending.

“I still feel attached to the club now,” he said.

“My missus is Scouse and all her family are mad football fans, and I still speak to the first-team goalkeeper coach, John Achterberg, and some of the other guys there.”

The shot-stopper added: “I wish they had won the league that year.”