Former Liverpool standout Bobby Duncan has returned to England to sign for Derby County a year after leaving for Fiorentina.
The 19-year-old striker, who is the cousin of Steven Gerrard, has agreed a three year contract at Pride Park and will initially join up with the U23s.
Duncan was desperate to leave Anfield last summer to sign for Fiorentina and his agent accused Liverpool of mentally bullying him during the process, a claim that the club denied.
In a lengthy statement released on social media, Duncan’s representative Saif Rubie said: “This is not really dignified behaviour from a club with the rich history of Liverpool and one [at which] one of their greatest-ever players, Steven Gerrard, happens to be Bobby’s cousin.
“It’s a sad state of affairs that a club such as Liverpool can be allowed to get away with mentally bullying and destroying the life of a young man such as Bobby.”
Rubie was later banned and fined by the FA over an “improper” use of Twitter. He received a £10,000 fine and a ban from “all intermediary activities” for six weeks.
Duncan joined the Serie A side shortly after the controversy and played for the club’s academy, where he scored four goals in 12 appearances.
“Bobby Duncan is a player with plenty of potential and we are delighted that he has chosen to join Derby County,” the Rams’ academy director Darren Wassall told the club website.
“Initially, Bobby will join our under-23s squad. Like with any other player in our academy set-up, if they perform both in training and in matches then there is a pathway at this club to progress to the first team.
— Bobby Duncan (@bobbyduncan999) September 25, 2020
Derby have been excellent at giving young players a chance in the first team, with the likes of Louie Sibley and Jason Knight getting an opportunity in the starting XI over the past couple of years.