With just 12 Premier League appearances to his name in the last three seasons, Sebastian Coates’ departure from Liverpool looked a foregone conclusion heading into the summer.
Since joining the Reds in August 2011, poor form and a devastating knee injury have kept the centre-back on the fringes of the side, with his time seemingly up at Anfield.
A loan spell at boyhood club Nacional for the second half of last term helped build some marketability for the Uruguayan, who was able to make his country’s World Cup squad.
Yet when pre-season training rolled around, Coates remained a Liverpool player. Then, the 23-year-old turned in some impressive displays on the Reds’ USA tour that drew praise from Brendan Rodgers.
For a moment, Coates seemed to have re-opened his case at Liverpool. Perhaps he had finally come around, and Rodgers would consider keeping him as valuable cover in defence.
The Serie A outfit have been actively seeking a defender, failing to get their hands on Inter legend Walter Samuel and struggling to agree terms with Hugo Campagnaro.
Sampdoria will reportedly take their time to decide on whether to take on Coates, whilst Liverpool’s financial demands to hand him over remain unclear for the time being.
But no matter the Blucerchiati’s choice on whether to sign the Uruguayan, what seems clear is that the Reds have made the decision to part ways with the Montevideo native.
The arrival of Dejan Lovren has added to a crowded competition for playing time in central defence that already included Martin Skrtel, Mamadou Sakho, Daniel Agger and Kolo Toure.
Even if one of the latter two leave, the Reds will still have four centre-backs to choose from. Beyond this, Tiago Ilori looks set to be loaned out, having usurped Coates as the club’s anointed defensive prospect for the future.
Coates has certainly done all he could to earn a place in Rodgers’ squad in pre-season, but his push to prove himself may well be too little, too late.
Whether he’ll be starting a new life in northern Italy with Sampdoria isn’t yet decided, though his Anfield adventure appears to be nearing its end at any rate with this latest development.
Should Liverpool keep Coates or allow him to leave?