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Liverpool have signed “a Rolls Royce of a centre-back” in 16-year-old defender Amara Nallo. But the defender certainly isn’t a signing made for Jurgen Klopp and may never actually play for the club’s first-team under the German manager.
The Reds have had an eventful summer transfer window as they tweak their senior squad. But their academy hierarchy have also been busy recruiting more young talent as they look to find more Harvey Elliotts, Ben Doaks and Stefan Bajcetics.
In that quest, Liverpool have made two signings this week. The Athletic report that the Merseyside club have made two additions to Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s under-18s squad in Nallo, signed from West Ham, and Leicester’s 16-year-old midfielder Trey Nyoni.
The highly-rated teenagers both played regularly for their former club’s under-18s Premier League teams last season. West Ham youth coach Carlton Cole said of Nallo: “I would describe Amara as a Rolls Royce of a centre-back. He has a great left foot and is elegant when he moves with the ball.
“He can play the ball with both feet and has been working on his heading as well. He’s a player who has a high ceiling.” Despite that, it will be a while before Nallo is a first-team option. He will work with the under-18s and then the under-21s before he gets a chance to train, and then play, with the senior squad.
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Indeed, he may never feature under Klopp, who is currently poised to leave the Anfield club in 2026. The 56-year-old will end by then what will have been an 11-year reign in charge. That summer, Nallo will still only be 19 years of age and so will only still be developing.
If he wants a Carabao Cup or FA Cup turn-out under Klopp, he will have to impress in the club’s youth teams quickly. Liverpool will though that in the player they have a centre-half who can be a long-term option after Klopp leaves.
Before he does, the manager is expected to oversee an overhaul in defence in the next 12 to 24 months. The club’s new captain Virgil van Dijk won’t be dislodged from the starting line-up any time soon. He is under contract until July 2025.
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But Joel Matip is into the final 12 months of his deal while this season may be a make-or-break campaign for Joe Gomez, now 26. Ibrahima Konate joined two years ago and has been limited to 55 appearances by injuries but has a huge future if he can stay fit.
And Liverpool will pursue high-quality replacements if Matip and Gomez do depart in the next year or two. They also have some academy talents already, namely Jarell Quansah, who could become first-team options in the centre of defence too.
Nallo meanwhile only signed a scholarship deal with West Ham in May and is expected to pen a professional Liverpool contract when he turns 17 in November. If Cole’s words are anything to go by, the club’s set-up will hope for big things to come from the young Englishman.
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