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Danny Ings Should Aim Lower Because He Isn't Good Enough for the Big Clubs

14/05/2015 17:23 BST | Updated 14/05/2016 10:59 BST

Danny Ings has hugely exceeded all expectations this season - the maiden top flight campaign of his career - and as a result he's most definitely earned the right to stay in the Premier League, despite Burnley's immediate return to the Championship.

Still only 22 years of age, he's scored 10 goals in 36 games - more than a third of his side's total - and there have been times when he looked like the only bright spark in a team always lacking in the quality stakes.

Liverpool look as though they are in prime position to snap him up at the end of the season. He's also had interest from Real Sociedad in Spain, as well as Borussia Monchengladbach and others in Germany. Closer to home, even Manchester City and Manchester United have shown at least a passing interest.

Any move to one of the elite English clubs would be a dream for Ings, but the unfortunate reality is that his current status as one of the hottest properties on the market is the product of several months of severe over-hyping.

In reality, he certainly isn't good enough to move to the very top, while Liverpool on the next rung down would also be a stretch. Despite being far and away Burnley's best player, Ings is lacking the quality that would actually improve any team in the top six and he ought to be aiming slightly lower.

He's scored goals this season, but he's not been as clinical as another English striker in a similar position. Charlie Austin has netted almost twice as many playing for QPR, while in recent weeks in particular, Ings has failed to capitalise on chances at key moments in important games.

In Burnley's defeat against Leicester last month, there was a moment when he was through on goal, only to be denied by Kasper Schmeichel. It was a good save from the goalkeeper, but he should never have been given a prayer. In the ensuing melee, the Clarets were awarded and subsequently missed a penalty, with the Foxes netting the winner less than a minute later. Had Ings put his clear-cut chance away at the first time of asking, the game, as well as Burnley's season, could have been quite different.

Of course, that is just one specific example and even the very best miss good chances from time to time. Crucially though, it has been a recurring theme with Ings this season, but perhaps one that is often naively overlooked because of the other good work he has done.

Liverpool need someone to come in and score goals immediately. If Ings arrives at Anfield it vastly decreases the likelihood of Brendan Rodgers going after a top line striker, at least based on how he has conducted their transfer policy over the last three seasons. Divock Origi will also be back from a loan spell at Lille, while the club's medical staff are confident Daniel Sturridge's recent surgery will finally put him right for the long term.

Billed as the one to fire the Reds back into the Champions League would certainly put a lot of extra pressure on Ings to hit the ground running at Anfield. If he cannot meet that level of expectation, the fans will quickly turn on him, much in the same way they did with Mario Balotelli - who was initially heralded as a shrewd buy by many supporters.

That scenario is based on him being a starter at Liverpool. If Manchester City is to be his destination, things could be much worse. Scott Sinclair moved to the Etihad Stadium from Swansea after just one season in the Premier League - actually a better one than Ings has had - but saw his promising career grind to a complete halt. A recent loan move to Aston Villa has helped revive the winger, but he lost so much playing time that he may never now reach the potential he once showed.

He's only 22, but Ings has a huge decision to make this summer. He will have the chance to go to Liverpool if he wants it, maybe a bigger club too, but he has to make sure his head and not his heart is in control.

At such a young age there is still plenty of time for a move to top club to come up again. Right now though, he has to play for a club at a more suitable level and then maybe re-assess the situation with another year or two of good Premier League football under his belt.

Even at a £7m tribunal fee, Ings is still very affordable and Swansea, Newcastle, Aston Villa, Stoke, or Everton would all be good destinations at a more appropriate level for him to continue what he's started so well.

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