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Suso Transfer to AC Milan Ends Tale of Unfulfilled Talent at Liverpool

Published by Bleacher Report on Wed, 07 Jan 2015

Liverpool's first potential bit of transfer business for January could be wrapped up soonbut it's a departure, not an arrival, and it concerns a player of whom much was once hoped.Spanish playmaker Susois set to leave for AC Milan.The 21-year-old is out of contract at the end of this campaign and will head to the San Siro in the summer at the very latest, reports Gianluca Di Marzio (h/t101 Great Goals), though the move could yet happen during this window.Suso's 5-year stay at #LFC coming to an end. Off to AC Milan on four-year deal. Only question is whether he goes this month or in the summer James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) January 7, 2015Suso remains a prospect who could go on to have a very good career, but there is a feeling of him not having quite done enough at Liverpool to warrant further chances, even if part of that is bad fortune and circumstance.Talent, UnfulfilledAn outrageously gifted player from a technical standpoint, Suso has progressed through the Spanish youth international teams at a good rate and became a Liverpool regular, more or less, in Brendan Rodgers' first season. His ability to beat defenders, his vision and his confidence were all on show, first in the Europa League and soon after in the Premier League.Whereas Suso usually played on the right of Liverpool's front three in that first campaign, his time with Spain's under-20s would more frequently see him as one of two central midfielders, with a controller playing behind.It was at times his work-rate, not his on-the-ball ability, which let him down and which meant he was unlikely to play this role for the Reds at first-team level; too often he didn't want to do the defensive side of the game aggressively enough to make up for when he lost the ball in attack.Speaking to him in the summer of 2013, it was clear Suso held Rodgers in high regard and that he wanted to play for Liverpool above almost all elsebut above even that, he simply wanted to play. Game time, minutes in a first-team environment, mattered more.Victim of CircumstanceAnd so it was that Suso headed off for 2013-14, sent on loan to La Liga side Almeria where he had plenty of ups and downs, proved he could handle first-team football on a regular basis and put in some extremely impressive performances against good, experienced defences.Suso improved.The problem was, so did Liverpool in his absence, and at a greater rate of knots.By the time he returned last summer, the Reds' expectations and needs had been altered. Had Liverpool ended 13-14 in the sort of fourth/fifth battle which was expected of them, Suso probably would have been included in Rodgers' thoughts for continued, gradual improvement; a Europa League-standard player who could keep improving into a Champions League one.A title chase is a different matter though and, whether the eventual players signed prove worthy or not, bigger money was spent on more established players in similar positions to Suso. Lazar Markovic, Adam Lallana and even Emre Can, given where he has played at times, became rivals to even getting a few minutes.Suso was never going to renew and stay at the club if he wasn't getting game time and with the Reds performing poorly this season he might have gotten his chance earlierbut more bad luck and circumstance was to follow as injury struck at a most inopportune moment.Otro da ms .... One day more pic.twitter.com/hOJgwSDDFz SusoFernandez (@suso30oficial) November 14, 2014His tally of one game (and one goal) in the League Cup this season is not enough for him to want to stay, likewise nor has what he has seen on the training ground enough for Rodgers to put Suso in more frequently.Milan'Suso leaves, then. Disappointing for those who had invested in his growth and hoped for him to make more than the 21 first-team appearances he has, but his career path will now take potentially an even more uncertain, meandering road than the dead-end one he is currently on.AC Milan are not quite as much in disarray this season as they were last, but they remain miles off being a Champions League teamor even a Europa League side at presentand in Pippo Inzaghi Suso will be working with a novice manager who has not instigated the signing of him and has not shown tremendous will to give youth a chance.He has at his disposal Chelsea's Marco van Ginkel (120 minutes in Serie A), M'Baye Niang (24 minutes) and Riccardo Saponara (90 minutes) who, if not necessarily all direct rivals for game time for Suso, at least give an indication of what he'll be up against...and how much action they see for a struggling, inconsistent side which lacks creativity.If he's looking at right-sided attackers, Alessio Cerci has just been brought in on loan from Atletico Madrid.Is Suso going to waltz in and play ahead of him if he forces through a move in January' Ahead of second-top scorer Keisuke Honda' Stephane El Shaarawy, a fan favourite who hasn't really shown his own potential consistently either'Suso would have found game time and willing takers in Spain. He probably could have found them in England. Instead he has opted for an ailing team in a failing league, a decidedly disappointing choice from the outside but one he will need to make work during the course of his four-year stay.Within 18 months or two years, he will be the formed version of the player he can be. There isn't too much time left for him to dramatically improve, either tactically or technically. Physically he has never been tremendous, but his ability on the ball makes up for that.Suso, Almeria 13-14. There are signs that he could end up really good, but I'm on the fence. Still v v v young. pic.twitter.com/VjIhdnhVtt Ted Knutson (@mixedknuts) August 4, 2014Suso has undoubted skill and can make an impact in Italy, nobody should suggest otherwise. But to do so he'll need a stronger mentality and will to work and win than he has shown so far, as well as more determination to makea clubhisclub. Otherwise he could easily end up being just another talented player, roaming club to club and league to league on an almost yearly basis, looking for the side who will give him the perfect set-up and build around him.It rarely happens. When it does, it's usually somewhere around the level of Hatem Ben Arfa at Nice, Andreas Ivanschitz at Levante, Adel Taarabt at QPR. If Suso has aspirations of playing at a better level, he needs to make this transfer work out for him, whatever the personal cost.Follow @karlmatchettStats via Whoscored.comOpinions/comments from Suso in 2013 obtained first-hand.
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