Just under a year ago, it would’ve been unthinkable to suggest that Joe Gomez may have to leave Liverpool in order to keep himself within the discussion for the England squad.
However, in just under a year, a devastating injury and Liverpool bolstering their defensive options, this seems a very real possibility.
Gomez missed the lion-share of the 2020/21 season, following a catastrophic knee injury, ironically suffered whilst away on international duty with England in November, as Liverpool struggled with defensive depth due to an injury crisis.
Following this, Liverpool recruited Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig this summer, and when fellow centre-backs Virgil Van Dijk and Joel Matip returned with Joe Gomez competition for starting places have been high.
Van Dijk was always expected to return to the starting XI, but the question remained over who would partner him.
So far, Joel Matip has had the majority of the minutes alongside Van Dijk, with the 30-year old clocking up 945 minutes for Liverpool in all competitions. New signing Konate has recorded 270, and Gomez sits on 311 minutes, shockingly with only 12 of those in the Premier League – often finding himself utilised in the Carabao Cup – with Konate often preferred as Matip’s back-up.
Stories have begun to leak that Gomez, worried about his place in Gareth Southgate’s squad for next winter’s, he is rumoured to be considering a move away from Merseyside, but where could this be?
Newcastle (Permanent deal)
As with any top-level player rumoured to be available at the moment, Newcastle could be an option for Gomez.
Following the purchase of the club from Mike Ashley, Newcastle’s new owners have promised to spend big, with potentially £190 million to splash in January, as Newcastle fight to stay in the Premier League.
The 24-year old would be a fantastic signing for Newcastle, who are looking to return to the sharp end of the Premier League, heights not experienced at the club for a long time, and a player like Gomez, with top level Domestic, European and International experience would be an ideal signing.
For Gomez himself, with the prospects for Newcastle’s 2020/21 season don’t look especially promising, if they are able to secure their Premier League status for another year, it could become a very wise move.
Gomez would be guaranteed a spot in Newcastle’s, shaky, backline, and if further investment is made, Gomez could find himself in a team ready to climb up the table.
Aston Villa (Loan deal)
A deal like this would suit Gomez completely.
A loan to a mid-table side, such as Aston Villa would be a perfect opportunity for Gomez in many ways, he would get regular football but would also not be closing the door on his Liverpool career – with a potential return the the six time European champions still an opportunity once he has got more minutes under his belt this season.
Whereas, for Villa, whilst it would be harsh on Ezri Konsa, Tyrone Mings, Kortney Hause or Axel Tuanzebe – all of whom have featured at centre-back for Villa this season – to be dropped, Gomez represents and upgrade on each of those players.
Additionally, should a move like this become permanent, Gomez would find himself in a solid team – with his name constantly in discussion for the England squad.
A move abroad
Whilst there isn’t on obvious suitor for Gomez outside of these shores, a move abroad is a tried and tested method for English players who desire regular game time.
In recent months, we saw Tammy Abraham depart Chelsea to join Jose Mourinho’s Roma, and see results almost straight away.
Abraham has so far had a hand in six goals in his first 13 Roma appearences, and was rewarded for this with a recall to Gareth Southgate’s squad for the recent World Cup qualifiers, his first call up since November 2020.
Another case of this is Fikayo Tomori, who like Abraham left Chelsea, but, more importantly, like Gomez, is a centre-back, who was looking to secure a spot in the England squad.
Tomori signed for AC Milan in the summer following a 6-month loan to the Rossoneri and has been rewarded with regular gametime, and like Abraham, a recall to the National team – his first since November 2019.
This proves that their are case studies of English players taking the plunge and moving abroad to salvage their England hopes, and Gomez could also consider looking to the continent in order to force his way into the England squad.