Burnley have lost out on the chance to sign reported transfer target Niall Brookwell from Liverpool’s academy.
Sunderland Echo reported that the 18-year-old, on whom the Clarets were keeping tabs, has instead opted to sign for Newcastle, with Sunderland and Crystal Palace also thought to have been interested in the teenage midfielder.
Brookwell had been given his debut for Liverpool’s under-18 side at the tender age of 15 by Steven Gerrard when the current Rangers manager was involved in the Reds’ academy, as per Sunderland Echo.
He has played 21 times in total for the Merseysiders’ under-18s, with four goals and three assists to his name, a couple of those goals coming in the most recent campaign. He has been in matchday squads for the under-23 side at Premier League 2 level but did not feature in that grade.
The volume of clubs who had shown an interest in the 18-year-old hints at the precocity of his talent, while it would be understandable if Burnley were planning ahead in terms of defensive midfield additions, with Jack Cork and Ashley Westwood both having their 30th birthdays behind them.
Are you disappointed that Burnley missed out on Niall Brookwell?
However, the blow of missing out on Brookwell is attenuated by the emergence of another midfield prospect at Turf Moor in Mace Goodridge. Like the ex-Liverpool youngster, he is still awaiting his senior bow after making his mark at under-18 level (as per TransferMarkt).
The Clarets prospect has had a taste of a first team environment, though, having been on the bench for several Premier League games this season, including each of the last seven. It should not come as any great surprise if Sean Dyche opts to give him a senior debut in their final day clash against Brighton on Sunday, even if it is as a substitute.
It would have been a coup for Burnley to sign Brookwell from Liverpool, given that they would have beaten off numerous other clubs for his signature, but there should be no need for them to spend too much time lamenting what might have been.
In Goodridge, they already have a rising midfield talent whom they already know and who is already attuned to the qualities that Dyche wants from players at Turf Moor. The manager can instead focus on furthering his development and guiding him towards a first team breakthrough.
Burnley fans, do you think Goodridge can break into the first team over the next few months? Comment below with your views!
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