They do say the grass is not always greener elsewhere. Just ask Rafael Camacho.
Despite forcing his way onto the fringes of Jurgen Klopp’s first-team plans in the 2018/19 season, the Portuguese winger turned down a contract extension at Liverpool in favour of a return to Sporting Lisbon.
18 months on, he is stuck in Sporting’s reserves and, if an offer arrives between now and the transfer deadline, the Primeira Liga giants would cash in on their £7 million forgotten man in a heartbeat (Desporto).
But Camacho is not the only one-time Anfield starlet who may live to regret turning his back on the current champions of England.
Speaking to The National in the summer of 2019, Bobby Adekanye admitted that he had been offered a three-year contract by Liverpool.
But, with Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Divock Origi all ahead of him in the pecking order, the one-time Barcelona youngster understandably had doubts about whether he could obtain the first-team football he wanted at Anfield.
“Liverpool offered me a three-year contract, but I didn’t really see any plans for me in the future,” said Adekanye, who spent four years at Liverpool after honing his talents at PSV, Ajax and Barca.
“Lazio were very ambitious, and they showed me that they wanted me in the team, and that they had some pretty good plans for the future.”
A year-and-a-half after moving to Rome, however, Adekanye has played just 177 minutes of Serie A football.
And after a disastrous loan spell at Cadiz – during which he failed to dislodge a 35-year-old Alvaro Negredo – Adekanye is now being farmed out again, this time to an Emmen team hurtling towards relegation to the Dutch second tier (Diario de Cadiz).
With just five points to date, Emmen are the only team in Europe’s major leagues without a single win to their name in 2020/21.
At just 21, Adekanye has plenty of time to turn things around at Lazio. But this is not how he envisaged his career going when he turned his back on Liverpool.