While Liverpool’s other Colombian player, James Milner, is getting ready for his sixth loan stint in the span of four years, Luis Diaz is trying to make a name for himself in the Premier League during his first full season in England.
At this point in time, it’s unlikely that you’ve been exposed to too much information regarding Anderson Arroyo. Well, not unless you are an avid follower of football played at the youth level in South America, or a fan of the lesser leagues in the Czech Republic, Belgium, or Spain, for that matter.
However, Liverpool are undoubtedly keeping a close eye on the 22-year-development old’s as he strives to establish a name for himself in Europe.
As Arroyo strives to make yet another leap forward this season, the club’s director of loan management, David Woodfine, will be traveling to the Basque area on a more frequent basis than in previous years.
After signing a loan agreement for the entire season earlier this month, he will spend the year playing for the Alaves club that competes in the Spanish Segunda Division.
Ahead of time, he decided to extend his contract with Liverpool all the way through 2025. Even though he hasn’t quite made it to the Reds’ first team yet, he now has another opportunity to shine before the coaching staff.
The versatile defender, who has played for Colombia at the U23 level and was Diaz’s teammate with the U20 side that competed at the 2017 Copa America in Ecuador, was signed by Alaves after the club overcame stiff opposition to win the bidding.
Although Arroyo was just 17 years old when that tournament took place (Diaz became 20 years old while it was going on), he performed admirably despite the high level of talent that was present.
Richarlison, Lucas Paqueta, David Neres, Lautaro Martinez, Cristian Romero, and Manchester United’s newest player, Lisandro Martinez, were among the players who took part in the match. However, it was a Uruguayan team that included Rodrigo Bentancur that ultimately prevailed and won the match.
During a tournament for under-17 players that took place in Mexico two years prior, Liverpool scouts observed Arroyo and immediately recognized his potential as a player.
Following a series of good trials on Merseyside, he eventually signed for the Reds in February 2018, after which he promptly joined Mallorca on an 18-month loan contract. At the time, he was a left-back playing for a team in Colombia’s second tier called Fortaleza CEIF.
It has been a tremendous adventure for him. Arroyo, the son of a gold miner, spent his childhood in a secluded town in the Choco area of Western Colombia, which is located about three and a half hours west of Medellin. The community is surrounded by a rainforest.
At the age of 15, he signed for Fortaleza CEIF, whose headquarters were located in Cota, about 600 kilometers to the east. During his time there, he would make 22 professional appearances.
Later on, he shared with WFi that “it was a time of learning.” “But it was a period that will never be forgotten.”
At Liverpool, the well-known Frederico Paciencia, who was serving as the club’s trials manager at the time but is now an assistant academy recruitment coordinator, was the one who took care of him.
Paciencia is Portuguese, and as a result, he was able to maintain close communication with both the player and his family. This allowed Liverpool to fend off competition for Arroy’s signature from prominent clubs in Colombia as well as other clubs from throughout Europe.
Because he did not have a valid work permit for the UK, he was immediately placed on loan elsewhere. He was a member of Mallorca’s B team, which competed in the fourth tier of Spanish football, but he was unable to make it onto Mallorca’s first team, which was competing in the Segunda Division at the time. Because of this, the early termination of his contract occurred.
Despite this, he looked back on his time on the island with fondness.
“It was quite enjoyable,” he remarked at a later time. “Even though I didn’t obtain what I desired, I did get knowledge that has been of great use to me in my further maturation and expansion.”
His subsequent loan stint, which he served with the Belgian club Gent, was not nearly as fun. A disagreement that occurred within the club led to him being demoted to the reserve squad, and he never played for the first team again after that.
And even after moving back to Liverpool, he was unable to turn his bad luck around.
In the summer of 2019, after spending a week training with Jurgen Klopp’s senior squad at Melwood, he was supposed to head off with them for their pre-season tour of America. However, he suffered a fractured metatarsal in training, which caused him to be sidelined for six weeks and prevented him from going on the tour.
After getting back into shape, he signed with the Czech club Mlada Boleslav, but at that time, he was also a regular member of Colombia’s under-23 team, which was getting ready for the Olympics.
Because of this, he got into a fight with the head coach, Jozef Weber, and his possibilities with the Skoda-owned club were severely limited. During the 2019-20 season, he played in the league for only a total of two times.
Liverpool, on the other hand, showed no signs of alarm.
In order for Arroyo to play regularly, it was decided that the Reds’ current sporting director, Julian Ward, should have a conversation with the player’s agent, Matthieu Grossin, and come to an agreement that Arroyo should play at a lower level.
After having success in the Spanish third division with Salamanca, where he made 21 appearances in the next season, he was able to advance to the next level by switching to Mirandes, where he was essentially an ever-present member of the team.
This brings us to the most recent obstacle.
After spending the previous year playing in La Liga, Alaves will be among the favorites to win promotion to the top flight of Spanish soccer once again, which will result in increased levels of both pressure and expectation. Arroyo anticipates participating in the game, and he plans to do so in the right-back position, which is the one that Liverpool values the most.
Should he be successful, senior honors at the international level might be bestowed upon him. That, in turn, would increase his chances of acquiring a work visa, which, in turn, might maybe help him achieve his goal of playing for Liverpool’s first team someday.
In the beginning of this year, he shared with liverpool.com that “it is my objective, my wish, and my dream.” Since I joined the team, it has been a goal of mine to achieve this, and I sincerely hope that it will become a reality.
Because of this, I make it my goal to perform each task in the most effective manner possible. It is imperative for me to be there, and I am willing to sacrifice anything to do so.
Time will tell whether or not he is successful in realizing his goal. However, it does not appear that he is going to give up on it any time soon.
Who knows, maybe one day he and Diaz will find themselves back together in the color red.