Liver­pool sell Dun­can to Fiorentina after ‘men­tal bul­ly­ing’ claim

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Football - By Sam Dean

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.

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