Calvin Ramsay’s Liverpool move is a remarkable success story… Scottish stars aren’t supposed to leave for the elite but Jurgen Klopp must think he can become Trent Alexander-Arnold’s deputy
- Calvin Ramsay’s Liverpool switch is a remarkable individual success story
- Even the best Scottish stars aren’t supposed to leave for football’s elite sides
- Jurgen Klopp must already be convinced over the young full back’s abilities
- A five-year deal is set to be finalised, and what happens next is in his hands
After a season of so much bitter disappointment at Aberdeen, Calvin Ramsay’s imminent sale to Liverpool provides a remarkable individual success story.
It’s a big deal. Not just in terms of the club record fee that will be earned – £4.5million up front plus £3.5m of potential add-ons – but in the sheer magnitude of the purchaser.
Even the most prominent Scottish players aren’t supposed to leave the domestic league and directly join one of the very best squads in world football. Recent history shows as much.
Calvin Ramsay’s sale to Liverpool is a remarkable individual success story, and is a big deal
Jurgen Klopp believes that the young full back has sufficient promise to be part of his plans
Andy Robertson had to take a detour through Hull City from Dundee United to reach his stellar heights at Anfield. A £25m deal took Kieran Tierney to Arsenal, a great club still working to recapture past glories, while Nathan Patterson docked with Everton and John McGinn had to work his way up from the Championship with Aston Villa.
But one season of regular first-team football and 39 appearances for his hometown club has been enough to convince Jurgen Klopp that Ramsay has sufficient promise to fill a vacancy in his future plans for the Champions League finalists.
None of that is to suggest the 18-year-old is a better player than any of the aforementioned, established Scotland internationals. He’s not. Not yet, anyway.
Andy Robertson took a detour through Hull City from Dundee United before joining the Reds
Liverpool are paying for potential, but a recruitment system regarded as one of the most effective and innovative in the world sees a viable pathway for Ramsay to become the understudy to Trent Alexander-Arnold. That in itself is an unmistakable accolade.
It’s understood Liverpool have yet to decide whether they will loan Ramsay out next season or push him into a back-up first-team role. But with a five-year contract set to be finalised, what happens next is largely up to the teenager.
Making a genuine breakthrough in Klopp’s squad is an immense challenge. Especially when one of England’s most gifted players is occupying your preferred role. Speaking when named SFWA Young Player of the Year in April, Ramsay highlighted Alexander-Arnold as an inspiration.
A look across Stanley Park also underlines some of the wider problems in terms of Ramsay adapting to an English Premier League environment. Two years older and already a senior Scotland cap, Patterson played just 45 minutes of first-team football for the blue half of Merseyside last season after making his £12m switch from Rangers. And the squad at Everton is at least one rung below that of their rivals.
With a five-year contract set to be finalised, what happens next is largely up to the teenager
Ramsay has highlighted Trent Alexander-Arnold as an inspiration, and will compete with him
Ramsay will have to keep on developing at a rapid rate to truly succeed but the teenager has so far shown a tendency to take everything in his stride.
Like Patterson and Chelsea’s Billy Gilmour, he is a graduate of the SFA’s performance school system, having spent four years at Hazlehead Academy before signing his first professional contract with Aberdeen. He first joined the club aged eight after being offered a trial when spotted playing for Cove Boys Club.
A decade-long association with the Dons, starting under coach Steven Sweeney, has served both parties well.
He didn’t start out as a right-back, though. ‘From the Under-10s up until the Under-15s I was actually a central midfielder, so I am comfortable with the ball at my feet,’ Ramsay has recalled.
So far, he has shown a tendency to take everything in his stride, and grew up an Aberdeen fan
He grew up an Aberdeen fan. His dad Graham, a postal worker, played football at Highland League level and is an ardent Dons supporter. ‘My dad has been a big influence on me – all he wanted was for me to play for Aberdeen,’ he said.
Paternal persuasion also prompted him to combine football with middle-distance running at school. Podium places over 2.5km at the Run Balmoral races confirmed his ability but athletics was never likely to take over his primary sporting pursuit.
Impressive performances at youth level for Aberdeen saw him gain recognition with Scotland Under-17s and led to a first taste of the top team when Ramsay was named on the bench by manager Derek McInnes for a meeting with Hearts on the opening day of the 2019/20 Premiership season.
An opportunity of a lifetime awaits for the full back, and Aberdeen can transform their squad
A new contract preceded a debut at 17 under interim boss Paul Sheerin, with Ramsay coming off the bench in a 1-0 loss at Dundee United in March 2021.
The arrival of Stephen Glass as manager saw Ramsay make five further appearances before he started last season as Aberdeen’s first-choice right-back.
One goal and nine assists – eight in the first half of the campaign – brought interest from across Europe. Bologna saw a proposal rejected in January, while Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt were keen.
When Liverpool became serious contenders, Jurgen Klopp’s side became the likely destination
Leeds United offered an English alternative but when Liverpool became serious contenders there was only ever one likely destination.
Now Anfield awaits. For Ramsay, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. For Aberdeen, a chance to reinvest in a squad in dire need of transformation.
Promoting Ramsay’s talents has delivered rapid and substantial dividends.
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