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Ex-Maidstone United goalkeeper Yusuf Mersin speaks about his time at Liverpool with transfer fee rumoured to have been £1million

Former Maidstone goalkeeper Yusuf Mersin is said to have cost Liverpool £1million.

That was the speculation in the press when Mersin moved from Millwall to Anfield as a 16-year-old.

Former Maidstone goalkeeper Yusuf Mersin. Picture: Steve Terrell
Former Maidstone goalkeeper Yusuf Mersin. Picture: Steve Terrell

Now 28, and looking for a new club after leaving the Gallagher this summer, the big keeper will probably never know the true fee.

It was, however, a period of his life he’ll never forget and one that shaped his future, meeting his girlfriend in Liverpool, where they recently bought a house.

“The papers were saying I cost £1million,” said Mersin.

“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.”

Mersin was playing youth-team football for Millwall when Liverpool signed him in December 2011.

It came out of the blue for the Dartford schoolboy who had to finish his GCSEs on Merseyside.

First-team manager Kenny Dalglish called Mersin’s dad to congratulate him and, out of nowhere, the teenager was at one of the biggest clubs in the world.

Liverpool knew exactly how to treat young players, keeping Mersin’s feet on the ground.

“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.

“I’d been playing for Millwall youth teams for years and I guess I was doing well and they came to see me.

“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 trained with under-16s and under-18s after arriving on Merseyside.

A knee injury sidelined him for six-to-eight months but he progressed well after his recovery.

He had Danny Ward - now at Leicester and Wales’ first-choice goalkeeper at the 2022 World Cup - for company over the next few years.

An injury to Ward gave Mersin the chance to train with the first team as Liverpool, by now under Brendan Rodgers’ management, looked set to win the 2014 Premier League title, only to blow up in the last few games.

“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.

“It was unbelievable to be around so many great players.

“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 wish they had won the league that year.

“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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