Kevin Stewart is set to join Hull City as Andrew Robertson prepares to make the switch in the opposite direction.
Stewart, 23, has been given permission to leave the Reds’ training camp in Hong Kong to finalise an £8million move to Humberside, while Robertson will arrive on Merseyside for a medical on Thursday.
With the Scottish full back likely to cost Liverpool a similar fee initially (it could rise with add ons), Jurgen Klopp is effectively swapping a midfielder who would struggle to even make the 18 man match day squad with a left back who will challenge for a first team spot.
Lifelong Reds’ fan Stewart will be leaving with a heavy heart, but he should be proud of what he accomplished against all the odds on Merseyside. Nobody expected him to make it as far as he did but it’s testament to his determination and work ethic that he went from being released by Spurs at 20, to playing in Liverpool’s first team two years later.
Injuries and a hectic fixture list presented him with an unexpected opportunity to play in the first team and he impressed enough to earn further run outs in the latter part of the season and was rewarded with a new contract. Last season was a difficult one for him though, as despite catching the eye in pre-season (a Wembley appearance against Barcelona was especially impressive) he made just nine appearances, most from the bench.
The departure of Lucas Leiva moved Stewart one rung up the ladder, but he was still behind fit again Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and even Gini Wijnaldum for the holding midfield position, and a move away suits all parties.
He might not be the only member of the current squad making the move to Humberside, as City’s new boss Leonid Slutsky is in the hunt to sign another Reds youngster. In demand winger Ryan Kent is mulling over offers from Hull and fellow Championship side Leeds United.
The 20 year old is currently a part of Klopp’s 25 man squad competing in the Asia Trophy but he is expected to depart for another season on loan in the next couple of weeks having impressed at Barnsley last season.
Fellow winger Sheyi Ojo meanwhile, will decide between Fulham, Middlesbrough and Derby County after all three made offers to loan the England under 20 star for the season.
While it makes sense to allow young players to gain valuable experience on loan, Klopp needs to find the right balance as he can’t deplete his squad too much. The demands of European football this season will make it more difficult to compete on all fronts and a bigger squad will be needed if the Reds are to improve on last season’s fourth placed finish.
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