Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk has given a glowing verdict of Brighton & Hove Albion's rising star Evan Ferguson, who turned down a move to Anfield.
Ferguson, 18, has been a revelation for Brighton and bagged a memorable hat-trick in a 3-1 win against Newcastle United before the international break. He now has four goals in as many games so far this season and an overall tally of 14 goals and four assists in 33 games for the Seagulls.
The Republic of Ireland star's stock is rising and Van Dijk has become the latest footballing name to praise the teenage wonderkid. He said prior to the Netherlands' Euro 2024 qualifier against the Irish (via Liverpool Echo):
"If you score a hat-trick just before the international break, then he was going to be full of confidence. He looks like he is a promising striker for Ireland now and into the future."
Ferguson has also impressed for his national team, bagging two goals and one assist in six caps. However, he missed Ireland's 2-1 defeat to Van Dijk's Netherlands on Sunday (September 10) due to an injury.
However, he could have been playing alongside the Dutch defender had he made a move to Liverpool back in 2020. The in-form Brighton striker trialed with both the Merseysiders and Manchester United before opting to head to the Amex.
Ferguson explained that he decided to snub a move to Jurgen Klopp's side due to their capabilities of blocking his path to the first team. He said:
"It came down to the fact that if you come to Brighton it's a pathway through. If you go to a team such as Liverpool then they can buy a striker for £60million to £70million."
Ferguson has shone for Brighton and is one of many young players who have made blistering starts to their careers from the Seagulls' academy. He alluded to this:
"At Brighton, they like to bring their academy players through and give them a chance. I'd say that was the reason, looking long term rather than short term. So I'd say that this was the final reason."
Ferguson has five years left on his contract with Brighton but is garnering interest from many of the Premier League's heavyweights. Arsenal and Manchester City are among the sides reportedly keeping tabs.
Liverpool admire West Ham United star Jarrod Bowen who could replace Mohamed Salah
The Athletic reports that Liverpool are admirers of West Ham United winger Jarrod Bowen. The England international has made a superb start to the new season, with three goals and one assist in four games.
The 26-year-old joined the Hammers from Hull City in 2020 for £20 million and he has gone on to become a massive hit at the London Stadium. He scored the winner in last season's UEFA Europa Conference League final win against Fiorentina.
West Ham would likely demand a big fee for Bowen given he is crucial to David Moyes' side. However, Liverpool may be on the lookout for a new right-winger with question marks over Mohamed Salah's future.
The Egyptian superstar was heavily linked with a move to Saudi Pro League giants Al Ittihad this summer. The Reds rejected a £150 million bid for him and the Saudi transfer window passed.
Still, Salah remains one of Saudi football's top targets to help them continue their rise to prominence with the addition of world-class talent to their league. The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, and Neymar all ply their trade in the Saudi Pro League.