Inside Liverpool's plan for Rio Ngumoha as scouts delighted and Chelsea furious with transfer

-Credit: (Image: Daniel Derajinski/Icon Sport via Getty Images)
-Credit: (Image: Daniel Derajinski/Icon Sport via Getty Images)


Liverpool believe they have signed one of the most exciting youngsters in English football in Rio Ngumoha.

And it is believed an angry Chelsea have been left furious with how they have lost one of the brightest talents in their academy to a Premier League rival.

The Reds have tracked the England Under-16 international for some time and are now set to bring him into the fold at the Kirkby Academy ahead of the new season.

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It's expected Ngumoha will be blooded into the Under-18s setup with Marc Bridge-Wilkinson for the coming campaign before being assessed for a potential call-up to the U21s and Liverpool are delighted at managing to bring the 15-year-old to their thriving Kirkby base.

Club scouts have been hugely impressed with the skillful winger during checks and after listening to the enticing pitch laid out by Liverpool, Ngumoha is now on the cusp of moving to Merseyside.

It's believed Chelsea are furious with how Ngumoha has been allowed to leave for what will be a nominal fee for a 15-year-old, although suggestions they have broken their wage structure to land the winger have been rubbished.

It's understood the arrival of Ngumoha is in-keeping with existing policies that are strictly set out by long-serving Academy director Alex Inglethorpe and the youngster will be on a scholarship wage at Kirkby once he officially becomes a Reds player.

The club's recent track of blooding players from their academy ranks into the first-team is understood to have been key to the decision over the move with the 2024 Carabao Cup final cited as the perfect example of the two contrasting strategies at both clubs.

Liverpool won the game at Wembley 1-0 thanks to Virgil van Dijk's extra-time header but finished the match with James McConnell, Bobby Clark and Jayden Danns all on the pitch and they were also able to name Caoimhin Kelleher, Jarell Quansah, Conor Bradley and Harvey Elliott in the team on the day, four players who all sharpened their skills in the youth ranks at Anfield.

Both Quansah and Bradley have emerged as first-team options for the long term based on the back of them grasping their respective chances last season, while the likes of Kaide Gordon, Ben Doak and Lewis Koumas all earned senior minutes as Trey Nyoni became the youngest player to feature for the Reds in an FA Cup tie, aged 16 years and 243 days.

In contrast, Chelsea have signed over 30 players since the summer of 2022 with owner Todd Boehly and his Clearlake Capital consortium committing over £1billion on transfer incomings since taking over from Roman Abramovich two years ago.

Such an eye-watering outlay has inevitably had an impact on the ability of Chelsea's teenage talents to stake their claim but the club's willingness to invest huge sums for players in a similar age range from around the world has also been an issue.

In June 2023, it was confirmed Chelsea would be signing Kendry Paez from Ecuador side Independiente del Valle for around £18m to join up with his new club after his 18th birthday next year, while it was reported last month that the Londoners have also coughed up £29m to land 17-year-old Estevao Willian from Brazilian side Palmeiras.

Under Jurgen Klopp Liverpool had a proven track record of developing pathways for their most talented youngsters with elite development coach Vitor Matos becoming an influential and important figure behind the scenes in helping get the club's best hopefuls in front of the first-team manager as often as possible.

Matos's end-of-season exit has led to Liverpool recruiting Aaron Briggs to a similar role with the former Manchester City man now tasked with being the bridge between the academy and senior departments at the club's Kirkby base.

Liverpool have been keen to pursue the best young talents across the country since the introduction of laws that came off the back of the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union at the end of 2020, which made signings from the continent more difficult.

Stefan Bajcetic's addition to the ranks in December of 2020 was rushed through from Celta Vigo to ensure Liverpool signed the midfielder ahead of the deadline.

The ECHO reported last month that Liverpool were closing in on the signing of 16-year-old Alvin Ayman from Wolves having brought in Nyoni from Leicester and defender Amara Nallo from West Ham United last summer.

Prior to that, Clark and Doak were brought in from Newcastle United and Celtic for £1.5million and £600,000 respectively and Gordon was signed from Derby County for a fee that may rise to £3m. Calum Scanlon, meanwhile, was signed from Birmingham City for £400,000.