Liverpool have confirmed their fifth loan move of the summer transfer window so far, with midfielder James Balagizi signing a new contract before departing.
Balagizi is among the most talented players in the Reds’ academy, but last season saw injuries blight his first-team opportunities – including a spot in the pre-season squad.
The 18-year-old was a regular in the under-23s side, though, and was named on the substitutes’ bench for the senior side in both the 3-0 win over Norwich in the League Cup and the 4-1 victory over Shrewsbury in the FA Cup.
Now, the decision has been made to send him out on loan, with Balagizi joining League Two side Crawley Town on a season-long deal.
He has also signed a new contract at Liverpool, with there high hopes within the club that he can eventually make the step up to the first team.
Crawley finished 12th in last season’s League Two, and manager Kevin Betsy has looked to strengthen his squad for a renewed push for promotion, linking up with Balagizi again after coaching him in the England youth setup.
“He is an extremely talented young man who I have known for a very long time,” Betsy told Crawley’s official website.
“He is highly thought of at Liverpool, so for them to send him to us and trust us with a real asset of theirs speaks volumes for the football club.
“James can be a box-to-box to midfielder with great athleticism and speed. He can also play a real defensive role at times, as he is really astute in his positioning.
“A real class act who I believe will show his quality once he gets on the pitch for us.
“This really is a fantastic signing for us as he already has a great pedigree and has played for his national side at such a young age.”
Balagizi is the fifth Liverpool player to head out on loan so far this summer, joining Conor Bradley (Bolton), Jakub Ojrzynski (Radomiak Radom), Billy Koumetio (Austria Wien) and Adam Lewis (Newport County).
He is unlikely to be the last, either, with Owen Beck, Sepp van den Berg, Rhys Williams, Leighton Clarkson, Jake Cain, Paul Glatzel, Vitezslav Jaros, Tom Clayton, Anderson Arroyo and Mateusz Musialowski potentially to follow.
Good luck, Bala!