Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Jonjo Shelvey signs for Liverpool... does this mean Steven Gerrard is off in the summer?

Just in: Charlton's 18-year-old Jonjo Shelvey is off to Liverpool for £1.7m. Pretty straightforward on the face of it. Shelvey passed his medical this morning and will officially join the Reds on May 10.

He's played for England U17s and he's a top youngster. The interesting thing is hearing his former captain Matt Holland on TalkSport. He's just said: "Jonjo is a tremendous player. He idolises Stevie Gerrard. He plays like him too, he has all his attributes. He can get up there with the strikers and work back."

Given the rumours about Gerrard at the moment (I would never repeat such nonsense, just hit Google) does this suggest the greatest living Liverpudlian is off in the summer?

Certainly that's gossip. On Saturday the Daily Mail pictured his wife Alex Curran out and about without her wedding ring, though she has denied there are any problems in their marriage.

Still, if Shelvey is the new Gerrard, and with Rafa Benitez linked to Juventus and Real Madrid, it could be all change at Anfield - where Atletico Madrid will fight for their lives in the Europa League semi-final tomorrow.

Of course the owners, American comedy duo Gillett and Hicks, are trying to wriggle out of their Liverpool investment with a profit, but still - curiously - the Shelvey deal has been whisked through.

Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow appears to be the major player in this transfer. He said: "Jonjo is an exciting young England international. His signing is part of our long-term strategic recruitment plan and we all look forward to welcoming him to our training ground at Melwood."

Shelvey, who scored eight goals in his 48 appearances for Charlton, is the youngest player to ever play for their first team, making his debut in 2008 at the tender age of 16 years and 59 days.

The lad from Romford first came to prominence at the Valley in 2007 when he scored 14 goals in 23 appearances for Charlton's Under 18s – including 9 goals during Charlton's FA Youth Cup run.

On 3 January last year, Shelvey became Charlton's youngest-ever goal-scorer, with a strike against Norwich City in the FA Cup, 55 days before his 17th birthday. He also captained England's Under 16s to the Victory Shield in 2008, scoring three goals in three games.

Charlton chairman Richard Murray grieved: "It is with the greatest reluctance that we have accepted an offer for Jonjo from Liverpool. No club likes to lose such a talented prospect, but the overall package is one we couldn't refuse, and one which was very attractive to Jonjo.

"Liverpool are going to develop him over the next few years to be a top player, and I can't think of a better place for him to go to."

Liverpool and Charlton are also in talks about a possible joint development initiative that would see players move in both directions in future.

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