Where does Bobby Duncan go from here?
Background image: Pedro Varela, CC BY-SA 2.0
With his late loan move to Borussia Dortmund, people are talking about former Liverpool midfielder Emre Can but the German isn't the only case of a Red learning the grass is not always being greener on the other side of the fence. After very publicly leaving Liverpool last summer to join Fiorentina in search of first team opportunities, 18-year-old Bobby Duncan hasn’t set foot on any grass for the first team so far this season and looks unlikely to do so. As Steven Gerrard’s cousin, Duncan famously impressed for both Manchester City and Liverpool youth sides in his earlier teenage years, with comparisons to some of the world’s top players being thrown around.
Duncan made a decent start to the campaign with La Viola’s U19s after leaving Anfield for £1.8 million, scoring four goals in nine appearances. However, he hasn’t scored since October or even played for the youth side since early December. The youngster reportedly decided life in Italy wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Fiorentina sporting director Daniele Prade wasn't happy.
In his head, he wanted to play immediately with La Viola (first team). We are seeing what to do with him because playing in the ready-to-go first team is not easy.
Upon moving away from Anfield, Duncan made first-team opportunities a priority in choosing his destination. It seems there has been some confusion over when those opportunities would come.
Duncan parted ways with the agent who sparked social media controversy over his move away from Liverpool, Saif Rubie, and joined up with Germany-based Sasch Breese. He and the club were open to a loan move away this January after just half a season in Italy or even the mutual termination of his contract. La Viola apparently consulted FIFA regarding the possibility. whether this would be possible. They are unsure whether the rule that a player may not represent more than two clubs in one season applies to youth teams. Duncan represented Liverpool in U19 and U23 fixtures this season. The forward may have to wait until summer for his next move.
With his career seemingly spiralling out of control, Duncan could be thrown a lifeline by a rather influential family member. Steven Gerrard’s Rangers are open to reinforcements in Duncan’s position and the fledgeling manager might look to his young cousin. With a January transfer clocked out, Liverpool could still receive 20% of the fee per the original deal should the young Scouser be sold on.
That said, there remains a chance Duncan can make it work at Fiorentina. The club would not pay almost £2 million for a teenager if they didn’t see a future for him in the first team and he would not have joined the club if there weren’t certain assurances. The worst thing the player could do is repeat his saga at Liverpool. If the FIFA ruling is upheld in his case, it could be a blessing in disguise. Bobby Duncan might learn some patience and understand he must wait his turn to be in the first team rather than using his agent to skip the queue.