Liverpool sell Duncan to Fiorentina after ‘mental bullying’ claim
Liverpool have sold striker Bobby Duncan to Fiorentina days after being accused of “mentally bullying” the teenager by his agent.
Fiorentina will pay £1.8 million for the 18-year-old – an England youth international – who joined Liverpool from Manchester City last year. Liverpool have inserted a sell-on clause into the deal which will give them 20 per cent of any money that Fiorentina receive for the striker in the future.
Last week, Liverpool denied extraordinary claims made by Saif Rubie, Duncan’s adviser, that the club were “destroying the life” of the striker by blocking him from leaving for another team.
Rubie’s statement came after Liverpool had rejected a loan offer from Fiorentina for Duncan, who is a cousin of former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.
It was reported that Rubie had been cut out of the Fiorentina deal by Liverpool, but the adviser was pictured alongside Duncan as he arrived in Italy to complete his medical yesterday. The fee represents a considerable profit for Liverpool, who signed Duncan from Manchester City last summer for £200,000. Duncan went on to score 32 goals in all competitions for the under-18s last season.
Liverpool had previously been insistent that Duncan would not be leaving but the improved offer from Fiorentina, coupled with the fact that the striker remains some way down the attacking pecking order at the European champions, is believed to have prompted the change in approach.
In a statement released on Twitter, which included a series of allegations against Liverpool, Rubie said last week that Duncan was being forced to stay at the club “against his will”. He also claimed Duncan “has not left his room for four days because of this and will never go back to Liverpool again”, adding he was concerned about the player’s health and well-being.
Liverpool said they would not be responding in detail in a public forum for the sake of the player and because of the severity of the allegations made against Michael Edwards, the club’s sporting director. Liverpool have also agreed to sell Ryan Kent to Rangers after a fee of around £7million was agreed with the Scottish club, who are managed by Gerrard. The 22-year-old spent last season on loan at Rangers.
Meanwhile, Virgil van Dijk has been named as a finalist in the Best Fifa Football awards, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, is in the final three for the men’s coach award, alongside Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola and Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino.