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.”
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.”
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.
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.”