Reds deny agent's claims of bullying academy talent
Liverpool have dismissed the claims of an agent who accused them of "mentally bullying" teenage prospect Bobby Duncan and breaking a promise to allow him to leave the club this summer.
Striker Duncan, the 18-year-old cousin of Steven Gerrard, has been linked with the likes of Fiorentina and FC Nordsjaelland in recent days as he seeks promises of first-team football, but Liverpool reportedly rejected a £1.6million bid from the Florence club on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Duncan's representative Saif Rubie posted a statement on social media claiming that Liverpool had previously agreed to allow the England Under-18 international to move on this summer and claiming the current impasse between club and player is threatening his client's mental health.
Rubie wrote that Duncan missed the Liverpool Under-23 game against Southampton on Monday due to "deep mental health issues" because of the "stress of being told he can leave the club but (the club) then going out of their way to force him to stay against his will".
Rubie added in his statement: "Bobby has not left his room for days because of this and will never go back to Liverpool again and my only concern now is his well-being.
"The Liverpool hierarchy have shown zero consideration to that and have even gone (as) far as saying in writing that they will punish him and make him stay at the club until January and beyond to teach him a lesson.
"It's a sad state of affairs that a club such as a Liverpool can be allowed to get away with mentally bullying and destroying the life of a young man such as Bobby."
But Liverpool strongly rejected Rubie's claims in a statement responding to the agent.
"Liverpool Football Club is aware of and disappointed by the unattributed comments and unfounded allegations that have been made in the media regarding one of our players," the statement said.
"As the interests of the player in question are not best served by either inaccurate speculation, inflammatory statements or public discourse, we will be making no further comment.
"We will, however, continue our efforts to work privately with the player to find resolution in the best interests of all involved."