Liverpool dived into the transfer market soon after their Champions League final heartbreak against Real Madrid and revealed their first summer signing Fabinho out of the blue. Lyon star Nabil Fekir emerged as the club’s next transfer target, and he was considered to be the replacement of Philippe Coutinho, who left for Barcelona in January.
A deal was almost struck for attacking midfielder, who reportedly had his photo-shoot and interview, discussed his kit number. But an underlying knee issue while having his medical resulted in Liverpool trying to renegotiate terms with Lyon.
As a result, Lyon backed off and the transfer didn’t materialise. The player is now off to Russia as a member of France’s World Cup squad but his desire to feature for the Merseysiders has now been dealt with a massive blow, following the collapsed move.
Although there are reports claiming the Reds wanted to renegotiate the payment structure after figuring out the injury concern, it is believed that they purposefully pulled the plug upon finding the uncertainty over his knee issue as claimed by Liverpool Echo.
There are debates about whether Liverpool were right to call off the deal, particularly for someone who suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury back in 2015. But Fekir regularly featured for Lyon during past two seasons and kept on scoring and providing assists on a regular basis. The Reds also paid Arsenal £35m last summer for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who also has a history with injuries. But Liverpool decided to step away from Fekir.
The Reds, however, are not wrong either from their perspective, as an investment of £53m on someone having a serious knee problem might trouble them in the longer run. The Reds have learned their lesson from signing Daniel Sturridge and Alberto Aquilani, who was risked despite a series of medical woes.
The gamble for the Italian did not pay off at all and Aquilani is still considered as one of the worst ever transfers for the Merseysiders.
Fekir, meanwhile, was supposed to earn a hefty £175,000-a-week at Liverpool, thus, a thorough check-up had to be prioritised before signing the player. To add to that, Klopp’s ‘gegenpressing’ demands epitome of fitness – quite dissimilar to playing in Ligue 1, with French football often being criticised for its lack of speed.
Fekir would have been a vital player for Liverpool, but there are other similar players available in the market, and Klopp has always found out proper players to execute his plans.