Profile of Joe Gomez

As the 2015 summer transfer-window moved from its speculation stage into the stage where clubs would do real business Liverpool parted with a reported three and a half million pounds to recruit the Charlton Athletic teenager Joseph (Joe) Gomez. The fee will reportedly rise to six million pounds depending on number of appearances and team success. Although much was known about the three new signings who were out of contract at their previous clubs (Milner, Ings and Bogdán) Gomez was pretty much unknown outside the city he grew up in even though it is certain that Liverpool researched his background carefully before making their move.

It isn’t unusual for big clubs to sign young players. Raheem Sterling was only 15 years old when he arrived at Liverpool from Queens Park Rangers, Jordon Ibe (16 from Wycombe Wanderers) and Andre Wisdom (14 from Bradford City). Usually such signings are more for the future than the now. If they develop quickly their chances might come sooner rather than later. But unless a youngster is particularly talented he usually has to be patient and wait for his chance to come. This is probably what will apply in the case of Gomez who is originally a central defender but has been primarily used by Charlton Athletic as a right-back. 

Gomez was born in the south-east London suburb of Catford and was attached to Charlton Athletic’s Academy as he entered his teenage years. So rapid was his progress that he even played for Charlton’s under-18 team when he was only thirteen years old! Although other clubs were soon showing an interest he stayed loyal to the club which had given him his chance to develop and signed his first professional contract on his 17th birthday. Belgian Bob Peeters was the Charlton manager who gave Gomez his senior debut, a League Cup-tie against Colchester United in the middle of August 2014. Although Peeters would not be the manager at the end of the season his successor, Israeli Guy Luzon, also picked Gomez regularly during the second half of the 2014/15 season. By the end of that season the young defender had appeared in 21 Championship matches and 3 domestic cup-ties.

Even though Daniel Agger returned to Denmark a few months before his 30th birthday central defence was not a position in which Liverpool seemed to be particularly weak. Martin Skrtel and Kolo Touré are now the wrong side of thirty but they have significant experience behind them. Although Mamadou Sakho is less experienced in terms of senior matches played, he is only twenty-five years old as well as Dejan Lovren. To that quartet can be added Emre Can (even though his preferred position is in midfield) and two young men returning from loan, Andre Wisdom and Tiago Ilori. So it does seem unlikely that Gomez will make an immediate impact even though he does not seem to be short of either confidence or ability.

According to Sky Sports the 18-year-old’s "physical development and athleticism defy his years, and he is also strong in the tackle and enjoys having the ball at his feet. He tends to keep things simple with his passing, but discipline and maturity are desirable attributes for a young defender – and he has those in abundance." Hopefully he won't be another false dawn of a great centre-half like Gabriel Paletta, Sebastian Coates and Tiago Illori (who could still prove a good signing), will develop in good time and become a household name at Anfield.

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