This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Rayan Cherki truly is one of the greatest prospects in modern football.
Even though he is still just 16 years of age, he can already boast appearances for Olympique Lyon’s senior team in both Ligue 1 and the Champions League in 2019/20.
The young Frenchman has tallied four goals and one assist in three UEFA Youth League games and not only that, but last year, Cherki became the youngest player ever to score in the competition at the tender age of just 15 years and 33 days with his goal against Manchester City.
While playing for Lyon’s U17 side, he also netted an incredible five-minute hat-trick to further solidify his undeniable talent.
And now, this wonderkid that was once described as an “alien” by former Lyon coach Bruno Genesio, and also likened to Karim Benzema in terms of style of play, is reportedly on Liverpool’s radar, as per a report from 90min.
The interest from Jurgen Klopp and the Reds is nothing surprising. After all, the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Juventus are all waiting in line to poach the young prodigy’s signature.
Still, Lyon know that and they also know it’s only a matter of time before he leaves their club and goes on to build his future at one of the European giants, as 90min have also confirmed.
But looking at it from their perspective, it’s still far too early to part with such a huge talent who is still only 16.
Further down the line, if he truly goes on to turn into a superstar, which is looking more than likely, the time will come when he might outgrow the club of his youth.
Now, however, in this crucial stage of his development, staying at Lyon could potentially benefit both him and the team.
Liverpool, however, have a knack of scooping young talents – as we’ve seen with the arrival of Harvey Elliot and Sepp van den Berg – and Klopp could also help mould Cherki into the player he’s seemingly destined to become.
But the time is not right for Lyon to sell.
While Cherki would be held in the pipeline practically everywhere else, at Lyon he can already start building his legacy and his profile.
Not to mention that with the team currently sitting in seventh, they might need all the boost they can get to make the final push come the end of the season.
And then, in the near future, they can offload the young prodigy and profit from it even more.
Let’s see if they can pull it off.
Elsewhere, Manchester City scooping up Bayer Leverkusen’s own wonderkid could give Pep Guardiola another big project to work on…