Danny Ward has signed a new long-term contract at Premier League side Liverpool. The goalkeeper, 22, signed from Wrexham in January 2012 for approximately £100,000, has been a regular in the Reds’ Under-21 side. Ward will now provide competition to both Simon Mignolet and Adam Bogdan after Brad Jones was released from the club.
The Wales Under-21 international spend a month of last season on loan at League Two side Morecambe, and impressed in his five games in the Football League. The shot-stopper also spent a large amount of last season on the substitute’s bench for Brendan Rodgers’ first-team due to Jones’ injuries. Despite this, he is yet to make a senior appearance for the Reds.
He has been capped four times by Wales Under-21s, and made the step up to the national side in 2013. The new deal does put a uncertainty to the futures of both Lawrence Vigouroux and Ryan Fulton. Due to the signing of Bogdan, Ward will again find opportunities limited in the first-team and may have to get game time in the Under-21s. This will hamper the progress of both Vigouroux and Fulton, who are now too old to represent the Under-18s. It is therefore likely that if one of them wants to play regular football next season, then they may have to be sent out on loan, just like Ward did this season.
Tiago Ilori is set to be offered a new deal by parent side Liverpool. The defender spent last season on loan with Ligue 1 side Bordeaux and impressed when he did play. Ilori, 22, is currently playing for Portugal Under-21s in the Under-21 European Championships, and according to his father, he will be given a new contract.
Ilori is currently on £18,000 per week and has two years left on his contract, but Liverpool want to tie down the starlet as one for the future, alongside new recruit Joe Gomez. During contract talks with the club and Ilori’s agent, Ilori’s father, Kola told Antena 1 that Ilori will be in the Reds’ plans next season, but has revealed that another loan move may be a possibility, with Sunderland being linked with a move for him.
Ilori joined the Reds from Sporting Lisbon in the summer of 2013, but has yet to make a first-team appearance. After moving to the Reds for around £7m, Ilori has played in both La Liga and Ligue 1. He has also gained praise for comfortably handling the likes of Harry Kane and Domenico Berardi at the Under-21 Championships.
Should he sign the deal, he will be the fifth young player to commit to Liverpool, after Phillipe Coutinho, Jordon Ibe, Jon Flanagan and Andrew Wisdom put pen to paper.
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