A goalkeeper who joined Liverpool for £1m at the age of just 16 now finds himself without a club.
Yusuf Mersin was a promising young keeper at Millwall when he was scouted by the Reds before moving to Anfield, reportedly for a seven-figure fee. The Turkish youth international spent three years on Merseyside before leaving for pastures new in 2014. He linked up with Turkish side Kasımpasa, where he spent two years before returning to England, initially with Crawley Town in the EFL.
He subsequently dropped into non-league with Dover Athletic and then Maidstone United, who sent him out on loan to Welling during the season just completed. Mersin is now on the lookout for a new club after leaving Maidstone, who have just been relegated from the National League after finishing rock-bottom.
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Whatever happens though, the 28-year-old can always reflect on a memorable three years on Merseyside, where enjoyed success off the pitch, meeting his girlfriend.
Recalling his time at Liverpool and his reported price tag, Mersin told KentOnline: “The papers were saying I cost £1million. It’s nice to have that, although I didn’t see any of the money.
“It’s one of them where it was probably a few hundred grand and then add-ons if I made the 23s or whatever. It’s mad looking back, thinking about it now.”
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Mersin was called about his big move by none other than Reds icon Kenny Dalglish during his brief second spell as manager.
“It was all a bit surreal at the time,” said Mersin. “I was still at school and suddenly I was leaving everything behind to start a new life up north. I didn’t really know what was going to happen.
“Everything was great in terms of moving me up there and getting me set up and the club were very big on college work. We had meetings where they said 0.1% of players make it in the Premier League.
“They gave figures out like that to say you’re here, you’ve done well, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to play in our first team, because the chances are very low. You’re here for your development, we’re giving you an opportunity.”
Mersin thought he was going to be offered a new contract, only to see his hopes crushed as Liverpool, then managed by Brendan Rodgers, plumped for a young Danny Ward, now of Leicester City.
“I’ll be honest, I thought I was close to getting a new deal,” said Mersin. “But the keeper they pushed is playing for Leicester now, Danny Ward, and he’s done better than I have in his career, so they made the right decision.
“My last season there, I was with the first team nearly the whole season after Wardy got injured. That was the year they were going for the title.
“Simon Mignolet was the first choice and he was unbelievable in training. At the end of my contract I was verbally told I would probably get a new deal but I went over on my ankle badly and injured myself, which did for that.
“Mignolet drove me home from Melwood to where I was staying and he didn’t have to do that. He was a great keeper and a great man, so I’ll always remember that.
“It was an unbelievable time, going into these team meetings, an unbelievable experience. I still feel attached to the club now.
“My missus is Scouse and all her family are mad football fans, and I still speak to the first-team goalkeeper coach, John Achterberg, and some of the other guys there.”
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