Could Simon Mignolet leave Liverpool this summer?
Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was an unused substitute for the 13th consecutive Premier League game on Saturday and can be under no illusions that he’s second-choice between the sticks. His manager said as much in January.
The Belgium international was Jurgen Klopp’s first-choice in the Premier League for the entirety last season, making 19 appearances in the second-half (January 2 – May 21, 2017) and 18 appearances in the first-half of this campaign (August 8 – December 26), but he blew his chance to nail down the spot for good.
Mignolet hasn’t made an appearance for Liverpool in any competition since January and might have to leave this summer if he wants to be playing football with any regularity during 2018/19. With the Reds linked with Stoke City’s Jack Butland, the Belgian’s five years at Anfield look to be coming to an end.
Karius’ arrival was a major warning to Mignolet
Liverpool signed Mignolet from Sunderland in 2013 and he’s gone on to make over 200 appearances in all competitions. The 30-year-old has conceded 235 goals, however, averaging just one clean every three games. Mignolet was also guilty of high-profile errors over the years which cost his side points and eventually led to him being gradually phased out.
In December 2015, Klopp denied Liverpool were in the market for a goalkeeper and would agree to a new five-year deal with Mignolet a month later, nearly six months before the Merseysiders signed Karius to rival the Belgian in between the sticks.
The German’s first season at the club (2016/17) saw him struggle for consistency, keeping only three clean sheets in 10 league appearances, while making errors himself, initially. Mignolet found himself back in the starting lineup in the new year (2017) and saw the season out as Liverpool’s first-choice.
He started the new season in goal but would suffer the same fate as the 24-year-old, losing his place due to poor form and spending the remainder of the campaign on the bench. It’s been three months since the Belgian last played a game.
Where could Mignolet go?
Back in January, the former Sunderland shot-stopper admitted he was considering his future at Liverpool due to Karius being confirmed as first-choice. He knows his international prospects and overall development will suffer if he isn’t playing on a regular basis, which could mean he looks for a new club this summer.
“After everything that has happened this season, I know where I stand and the situation has become clearer. I always try to stay calm, and I have already grown stronger from such situations. I also have to think about my own future, the only thing I can do is focus on the training and do my best. I’m 30 years old and the World Cup is coming in. This situation cannot last too long, that’s clear,” he said.
There has been interest aplenty in his signature, with Celtic, Napoli, Stoke City, Southampton and Burnley reportedly keen. Newcastle United were another side linked with Mignolet recently, but Liverpool may not let him leave until they have a replacement lined up. Academy graduate Danny Ward, who helped Huddersfield Town to promotion while on loan last season, could step into the role of No.2, but it’s more likely they spend on somebody like Butland given his greater potential.
After five years at Anfield, it’s sad to see that Mignolet could be calling time on his Liverpool career this summer, but ultimately he blew his chance to stay as the Reds’ first-choice.