Bobby Duncan left Liverpool to join Fiorentina back in the summer of 2019
Saif Rubie and Simon Jordan have clashed after the two went head-to-head over Bobby Duncan’s departure from Liverpool.
Duncan courted controversy back in August 2020 when his desire to leave Liverpool was made public in an incendiary social media post from then agent Rubie, who took a swipe Michael Edwards and claimed the player had “suffered some deep mental health issues with all the stress the club has put him under” after the Reds turned down an initial approach from Fiorentina.
Liverpool, who have always strongly denied the allegations, ultimately reached an agreement with the Italian side a few days later for a £1.8million fee with a 20% sell-on clause included in the terms. But just a matter of months after the move, Duncan dumped Rubie and moved to German SportsTotal agency.
During his time at Liverpool, the Whiston-born attacker helped the club win the 2018/19 FA Youth Cup scoring a late equaliser in the final against his former club, Manchester City. He also netted 23 goals in 26 games in his first season, and formed a devastating partnership with Paul Glatzel at Under-18 level, and was rewarded with a place in Jurgen Klopp’s first-team pre-season squad in 2019.
But Duncan failed to hit the ground running in Serie A, later moving to Derby County in 2020, where he made just one senior appearance. He has now embarked on a new chapter in his career, this time in the Spanish third tier after joining Real Balompedica Linense in the summer.
And Rubie has now attempted to set the record straight by claiming that he actually advised Duncan to remain at Liverpool and not force a move away. Below is every word from the exchange between the pair on talkSport today, which includes contributions from Jim White.
Simon Jordan: “You make this same observation and I don’t care either which way whether you did or didn’t but you made the same observation about Michael Edwards and that all he did was be a data analyst and have no understanding other than that. ”
“You take a player out at Liverpool [Bobby Duncan] and not you because you’re not longer there is now in the third tier of Spanish football. With your advice and guidance, the player you looked after, Bobby Duncan has gone where? ”
Saif Rubie on Bobby Duncan: “Let me tell you on that situation because to be honest, I don’t want to, at the time we agreed to disagree, but the reality is for whatever reason Liverpool didn’t want to let the player go out on loan to play first-team football. They didn’t want to give him a contract, they didn’t want to let him know. Basically, I don’t know what it was…”
Simon Jordan: “If they didn’t want to give him a contract he’d be out of contract, wouldn’t he?”
Saif Rubie: They didn’t want to let him go out on loan to play first-team football.”
Simon Jordan: “Which is their gift, yeah?”
Saif Rubie: “Like I said, the point is the player was a young player who was unhappy there and wanted to leave. At the time, as I’ve told you, I was tasked with working with the player.”
Simon Jordan: “But the outcome of the player is the third tier of Spanish football.”
Saif Rubie: “That outcome [third tier of Spanish football] is nothing to do with me. I did my job.”
Jim White: “For those who don’t know, Saif caused controversy in 2019 around this lad Bobby Duncan at Liverpool and you accused the club of ‘bullying and mentally destroying Duncan’ days before a move was sealed to Fiorentina – a three-year deal. ”
“You were critical on Twitter of the Liverpool board and you claim Duncan quotes ‘will never go back to Liverpool again, my only concern now is his mental health and wellbeing’ and now he’s in the third tier of Spanish football.”
Saif Rubie: “I don’t like to talk dirty laundry out in the public because at the end of the day, what went on behind the scenes at the time, you mentioned Michael Edwards there Simon, I can’t tell you the reason…”
Jim White: “Did you say that on Twitter?”
Saif Rubie: “I said that because it’s the truth.”
Jim White: “You accused Liverpool of bullying and mentally destroying Duncan?
Saif Rubie: “It was the truth [the tweet he sent about Liverpool’s treatment with Bobby Duncan].”
Jim White: “What good did this do for Duncan?”
Saif Rubie: “Nobody and this is what I’m trying to tell you. The problem with football club’s when they have assets for whatever reason aren’t happy where they are, they seem to be more often than not keep hold of them for dear life. Me, I’m in the business of football.”
Simon Jordan: You’re in the business of moving players around and giving them an opportunity. I’d give you an example and contradict your view of what football clubs do and don’t think.
“You’ve moved a player, the player is no longer an interest in you because this player’s of no commercial interest because the player has gone the way it’s gone. I had a player at Crystal Palace called John Bostock who was loved and adored by this football club, I spent a lot of time with a 15-year-old, 16-year-old boy, a lot more than a chairman should in terms of trying to convince him that his future at Crystal Palace.
“What he had was someone like you in his ear that created a different set of outlooks and went to Tottenham and flushed it.
“Now we have a boy who had all the opportunity in the world and the people around him at the time are no longer there because he’s no longer of any use to them anymore.
“It would seem that situation manifested itself with Bobby Duncan because the outcome is this, you’re there telling him what the challenges has got, falling out with Liverpool Football Club creating nothing but ill-will and the boys career now, everyone’s going to get an outcome, you’re going to get an outcome that’s for damn sure however a deal gets done you get the outcome.
“The consequences are human consequence because he gets no benefit out of it whatsoever and you’re in the middle of this.
Jim White: “Bobby Duncan might’ve been better advised to get a different intermediary.”
Saif Rubie: “Can I tell you something in that particular case? I actually advised him to stay ar Liverpool and you have to understand one thing, which is what I was trying to tell you guys, my job is to do the best for whoever is telling me to help them whether it be the player, a buying club or a selling club.
“In that particular case, you can choose to believe me or not, I thought him staying was the best outcome. It wasn’t meant to be and in the end it got a bit ugly with Liverpool which is unfortunate.”
Back in August 2019, Liverpool released a statement on the allegations from Rubie, which said: “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.
“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.”