Liverpool have signed two of Sunderland’s best youngsters to bolster the Academy, but as of yet, it’s not been revealed who those players are.
This is according to Sunderland owner Stewart Donald, who pulled no punches with his complaints about how big clubs can work the system and acquire the best talent.
He says that there was nothing he could do to stop two teenagers joining Liverpool – which is making him think of disbanding the Academy.
“We are having our players poached. There are two players who will go to Liverpool,” he told Sunderland podcast Roker Report.
“We tried to keep them. We said to the parents ‘If you really want to go you have to put it in writing’. The parents have written in and said ‘Thank you Sunderland, we want our lads to go to Liverpool’.
“We could turn around and make that awkward and then they will go in the summer anyway.
“Or we can talk to Liverpool and try and get sell-ons, which they don’t have to give us. Both of those lads, because of the relationship we’ve got with Liverpool which could see some players come in the other direction, we’ve opted for a good working relationship (with).
“We’ve asked them if they will stay and they said no. So we made a commercial decision to try and get the best arrangement.”
In fairness, we can completely sympathise with Donald, Sunderland and any smaller teams whose players are being nicked at a young age.
However, with Liverpool doing nothing wrong in terms of breaking rules, it’s understandable that the club is thinking of no.1 in pursuit of long and short-term goals.
And you can understand why the youngsters want to make the switch – imagine the possibility of following in Trent Alexander-Arnold’s footsteps and making it into Jurgen Klopp’s first-team.
It’s a tricky one – that’s for sure.