Billy? Koum-in-tio!

Billy? Koum-in-tio!

Rovers have bolstered their defensive ranks on Deadline Day, by announcing the loan acquisition of Liverpool defender, Billy Koumetio, on a season-long loan deal.

The 21-year-old, who can play as a centre-half or at full-back, has been on the books at Liverpool since 2018, having joined from US Orléans and Olympique Lyonnais before them and has worked his way up through the youth ranks at Anfield, despite having two separate loan spells since breaking through their academy ranks.

Having emerged as a winger at Olympique Lyonnais, he was soon converted to centre-half when the coaches at his youth level due to his height. His impressive performances saw Liverpool take a chance at him before he signed his first professional contract on Merseyside in 2020.

Whilst still on youth terms, Koumetio became one of the Liverpool’s youngest players to ever be involved in a matchday squad when he was on the bench at 16-years-of-age in a Carabao Cup tie against Arsenal back in 2019, but soon made his debut for the Reds, over a year later – after impressing during pre-season – as he was subbed on for Fabinho in a Champions League game against FC Midtylland, which saw him become Liverpool’s youngest ever player, at the time at just 18-years-old.

As his development progressed playing for Liverpool’s various youth teams, Koumetio was given the opportunity to go out and play “men’s football” as he was offered a chance to go out and play on loan in the Austrian Bundesliga for 24-time winners, Austria Wien, after joining them for the 2022-23 season. Despite having the opportunity to play in the UEFA Europa Conference League, the defender, then 19, only featured 11 times in all competitions for the Austrian side, which led to his recall in the January as a result of a lack of game-time.

With his return to Liverpool, the 2020-21 FA Youth Cup finalist remained at Anfield within their ranks before being offered another move abroad at the start of the current season, as he linked up with Ligue 2 side, USL Dunkerque on what was supposed to be another season-long loan, but again after just nine appearances in all competitions in the north of France, he was recalled by Liverpool at the start of January before being shipped out to Rovers.

The 6’3” defender, who is also an under-18s international for France, links up with Rovers to provide further defensive cover, as Jon Dahl Tomasson eyes up the potential possibility of moving to a five-back formation for the second-half of this current campaign.

Koumetio, who is highly adept at playing out from the back, as well as using his natural pace to recover, will be looking at this loan move, to – arguably – the highest standard he’s played at on loan, as a chance to prove his worth to the Merseyside club. With the imminent departure of Jürgen Klopp this summer and no signs that either Virgil van Dijk or Ibrahima Konaté will slow down, this loan move could potentially be critical the defender, given he is now 21-years-old, and it gives him a platform to impress and fight for his future, whether that be at Anfield or elsewhere.

From a Rovers perspective, Koumetio, who is Jon Dahl Tomasson’s third defensive acquisition of the window after Connor O’Riordan’s permanent addition from Crewe Alexandra and Kyle McFadzean’s arrival from Coventry City – (as Aston Villa’s Ben Chrisene is technically a winger) – will provide the much-needed cover that the Dane has been crying out for, with Hayden Carter sidelined for most of the rest of the season.

The defender will have also, no doubt, spoke to Harvey Elliott, Leighton Clarkson and Tyler Morton who would have given the 21-year-old rave reviews of how their time in East Lancashire had revitalised their careers and allowed them to express themselves, but also learn under two top managers in Tony Mowbray and Jon Dahl Tomasson. As Rovers’ relationship with the Liverpool hierarchy extends into a fourth loan deal, across two Head Coaches – it would have been five had Sepp van Den Berg arrived last summer(!) – Koumetio now arrives at Ewood Park looking to drag Rovers away from the alarm bells of the Championship relegation zone which is ominously looming and aid in their quest to quell their Achilles’ Heel of defending set-pieces, using his height.

Bienvenue, Billy! ???