DERBY, ENGLAND - Tuesday, April 18, 2023: Liverpool's Elijah Gift during the Under-18 Premier League match between Derby County FC Under-18's and Liverpool FC Under-18's at Moor Farm Training Centre. Derby won 5-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Forever grateful” – Liverpool winger bids farewell after 7-figure LaLiga transfer

After six years at Liverpool’s academy, talented youngster Elijah Gift has bid farewell to “this special club” after securing a transfer to Spain.

News of the 16-year-old’s impending departure was first reported at the end of May, and on Sunday his transfer to Athletic Bilbao became official.

The club were eager to hold on to Gift, who was a regular for the Reds in the Under-18s Premier League and contributed three goals and three assists last season.

But the LaLiga side were able to prize the winger away for a reported fee in the region of £1 million.

Liverpool have an abundance of up-and-coming talent in Gift’s position and it will likely have played its role in Gift’s decision to move back to Spain.

After his departure was confirmed, the 16-year-old paid tribute to the club after six special years, writing on social media:

“Dear Reds,

“Sadly, after 6 years at this amazing club, today marks the end of my Journey with Liverpool FC. I am truly grateful for every second I have spent at this special club.

“At this point, I would like to express my appreciation for my team mates, the coaches, staff & everyone for believing in me from day 1 and pushing me to the best of my ability.

“I am forever grateful.”

Gift was able to sign with the Spanish club as he was born in the town of Corella, placing him in line with Athletic Club’s unwritten policy of only signing players of Basque origin.

Season 2022/23 was his first with the U18s as a first-year scholar for Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s side, and there will be disappointment over his departure despite the depth in his position.

Ben Doak is among them, as well as the likes of Kaide Gordon, Harvey Blair, Trent Kone-Doherty and Ranel Young.