Liverpool are looking to the future and chasing a promising youth team striker from Athletic Bilbao reports talkSPORT. The young starlet has caught the eye of Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid but Liverpool have apparently stolen the march on them and are already negotiating a deal states The Mirror, whose source is a Basque newspaper called El Correo.
Sixteen year old Mikel Zaton is already drawing comparisons with current Athletic striker Fernando Llorente, and arguably less flatteringly at the moment Fernando Torres, due to his ability in-front of goal.
Zaton has been in prolific form for Athletic’s youth team this season with 25 goals in 28 appearances. This includes no less than five hat tricks. He is currently the top goalscorer in the top division of the Basque youth league.
According to talkSPORT the young forward is left-footed and prefers to operate as a lone striker. He has a reputation for being comfortable on the ball with a high technical ability and is able to strike the ball cleanly with precision.
Liverpool like all clubs need talented youth players. They are the lifeblood of a successful club and probably one of the most important insurance policies for success in the future. This is especially true now with the UEFA financial fair play regulations. It is fair to say that Liverpool’s youth team has failed to bring through players into the first team in recent times, the last main success must be Steven Gerrard, and more recently Neil Mellor and Stephen Warnock.
To be fair the correlation between the quality of youth team set-up and the number of youth team players making it to the first team may not be that strong. There can be many reasons why a player doesn’t make it and this is usually no fault of the academy itself.
Due to this surely the greater the number of talented youngsters in your set-up, the greater the potential for success. For this factor alone it must be encouraging for Liverpool fans that Dalglish is looking to bolster his youth team with talent.
However it is important that we do not get too carried away. This kid may have a great goalscoring record in some small regional youth competition in Spain, but that is hardly a guarantee of success.
Athletic have come to the attention of many recently with their victory over Manchester United in the Champions League, and it is true that many of that side such as Iker Muniain, Markel Susaeta and Andoni Iraola came up through the ranks. But there seems to be this instant hysteria when a side does well, that individual parts of the success such as players, managers and coaches are poached in order to somehow take a piece of that success and utilise it elsewhere. This rarely, if ever works.
It reminds me of the period immediately after a European Championship or World Cup when top teams scramble for the signatures of players that have done well for their national teams. Very often they earn themselves a big money move to a big side, fail to adapt and are sold, never to be heard from again.
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