Will Wilson and Ojo will have to find careers elsewhere?
Harry Wilson and Sheyi Ojo are in career purgatory after spending yet another season on loan away from Anfield. Both players were deemed top talents by Liverpool’s hierarchy, but due to the vast talent, Jurgen Klopp has at his disposal neither Wilson nor Ojo have been able to break into the first team. As a result, Wilson and Ojo were both dispatched to Cardiff City for the campaign.
For the former it was a drop-down, having spent the previous term on loan at Premier League Bournemouth, although he was unable to guide his team away from the relegation zone. Ojo has bounced around the Championship, Scottish Premiership as well as Ligue 1 in a spell with Reims. Both players have endured mixed success in their respective careers but could be part of a promotion charge at the Bluebirds this season, being backed in the English Championship odds at 6/1 to rise to the Premier League next term.
Wilson has settled into life in the Championship and has been extremely influential in the final third. The Wales international has the ability to control games with his left foot and has a perfect target in his compatriot Kieffer Moore to supply in the penalty areas. Ojo has been equally effective and more productive, scoring three goals and providing four assists in his opening 17 matches.
It is extremely encouraging for Ojo to find his feet and to perhaps push on his career. At the age of 23, he is facing a crucial time in deciding his future. The door looks to be well and truly shut at Liverpool, and he could take heed from the example of Ryan Kent by securing a move elsewhere. He seems comfortable in the second tier and a permanent switch to the Bluebirds would make perfect sense. Ojo may need more time in the Championship before he takes the step up to the Premier League. He did make eight appearances in the top flight for the Reds in 2016, but Klopp did not entertain the idea that he was ready to make a decisive impact. A permanent move would benefit all parties, but whether the Bluebirds could afford him in the Championship would be another matter.
Wilson had a solid campaign for Bournemouth last season, scoring seven goals in 31 appearances. The Cherries issues at the back were the reason for the fall into the Championship, while Wilson earned plaudits for his performances in the final third. Cardiff were surprisingly able to lure him back down to the Championship in a loan move. There was Premier League interest, but away from Anfield. Diogo Jota’s transfer from Wolves and immediate success under Klopp seems to have ended Wilson’s hopes of breaking into the first team. The two players are of a similar age and have similar styles of play.
If the 23-year-old and Ojo continue to fire then they could launch Neil Harris’ men into the Premier League. That could lead to an interesting decision with a number of teams already circling. Wilson may have to give up his dream of playing in a red shirt in front of the Kop and focus on developing his career on a permanent basis at the highest level.