Liverpool’s active pursuit of Lyon’s French international Nabil Fekir has to be one of the worst kept secrets of this summer transfer window.
The news of a potential move for Fekir broke towards the end of the 2017/18 season and it has gathered pace since. On June 7, almost every media outlet reported that Liverpool struck a deal with Lyon for their captain for a reported fee of £52.8 million.
The French club then came out and denied that ‘information’ regarding the transfer is wrong but they haven’t denied that a transfer could happen.
However, now Lyon have come out and revealed that the transfer negotiations have broken down and that Fekir will stay at the club for the coming season.
This is not the first time that Liverpool has had difficulties in wrapping up a deal for one of their major targets. Last summer, the club had to pull the plug on a move for Virgil van Dijk after Southampton accused them of tapping up. Liverpool apologised and didn’t sign the player in the summer but eventually signed him in the winter transfer window.
In light of the Nabil Fekir saga, take a look at 10 famous instances when Liverpool failed to conclude a transfer deal.
#10 Mohamed Salah
Let’s start with the big one, shall we?
It is no secret that Liverpool attempted to sign Mohamed Salah during the winter transfer window of the 2013/14 season. The club was mounting a serious title challenge but there was a clear lack of depth in attack.
The Reds were locked in negotiations with Salah’s former club Basel for weeks but both parties failed to reach an agreement over the transfer fee. It was at this stage that Chelsea intervened and made a swift move for the player by signing him for £11 million.
Liverpool eventually signed the Egyptian in 2017 and what a transfer that turned out to be, right?
Salah opened up about his initial failed move to Liverpool in 2016.
“Liverpool had wanted me for a number of months. They had opened talks in October 2013.”
#9 Yevhen Konoplyanka
The winter transfer window of 2014 was an agonising one for Liverpool fans. After seeing Mo Salah getting nicked from under their nose by rivals Chelsea, the Reds turned their attention to Yevhen Konoplyanka and it seemed like the deal was done only for it to collapse in the 11th hour.
On transfer deadline day, Liverpool was actively pursuing the Ukrainian winger and it was widely believed that the deal was done after the club met the player’s £16 million buyout clause. The player was also desperate to move to Anfield.
So what happened then?
Dnipro’s billionaire owner, Ihor Kolomoyskyi, refused to sign the paperwork necessary to complete the move and there was nothing Liverpool could do.
Liverpool didn’t revisit the transfer in the future and the player moved to Sevilla in 2016 and now plays for Schalke.
#8 Loic Remy
Few months after the failed deals for Salah and Konoplyanka, Liverpool lost their talisman, Luis Suarez, to Barcelona and thus needed a new striker at the club.
One of the players the club actively pursued was Loic Remy who spent the previous season on loan at Newcastle United from QPR scoring 14 goals in 26 Premier League games.
The Frenchman flew to the US where Liverpool were having their preseason and underwent his medical there. He spent a few days there with the Liverpool medical staff and after careful assessment, the club opted against signing the player on medical grounds.
Instead, Remy joined Chelsea and won the League and League Cup double with the Blues.
Although Liverpool refused to comment on the move, Remy later explained what happened during his medical.
“I came for the medical tests and everything was fine and after that, they wanted to be sure everything was fine with my heart. They asked for a specialist for the heart and apparently, the guy said they did not 100 per cent agree if I could keep going or had to stop football.”
#7 Alexis Sanchez
The deal for Remy wasn’t the only one that failed during the 2014 summer transfer window.
After selling Suarez to Barcelona, Liverpool’s main target to replace the Uruguayan was Barcelona’s, Alexis Sanchez. However, for some bizarre reason, Liverpool didn’t insist on making Sanchez a part of the Suarez deal.
Instead, the reds began negotiating a different deal for the player but an agreement with Barcelona was not the hardest part.
The Reds pushed for a deal to sign the player only for him to move to rivals Arsenal in £31.7million deal. Sanchez’s reason to join Arsenal over Liverpool was that he and his girlfriend wanted to live in London something which was confirmed by former Liverpool CEO Ian Ayre.
“There was much-publicised interest in Alexis Sanchez, as part of the deal which saw Luis [Suarez] go to Barcelona, and that deal was done. The only reason it wasn’t was that the player and his wife wanted to live in London.
We couldn’t move the football club to London, unfortunately!”
“Negotiations took a long time because Basel rejected more than one offer. They felt the transfer fee was not that high. I was waiting for Liverpool because I really like Liverpool. I was eager to join them.”
#6 Dele Alli
Dele Alli is one of the biggest English talents in recent years and any potential move for him in the future could go well over the £100 million mark.
Alli is a self-confessed boyhood Liverpool fan and his footballing idol is Steven Gerrard. So then why couldn’t Liverpool wrap up a deal for Alli?
Former club CEO, Ian Ayre, opened the lid on the matter after he left the club.
Liverpool was in pole position to sign the player and the club was able to monitor the player’s progress closely because then MK Dons manager Karl Robinson was a former academy coach at Kirkby.
Although everything was in Liverpool’s favour, the deal collapsed because Liverpool refused to match the demands of the player.
“There was interest in the player, but where it got to was that the demands at that time were not fitting to what he had achieved at that point.
We didn’t feel the player matched that demand. It’s easy to sit and say ‘look what you could have bought’, but how many players could you apply the reverse of that to? That’s the truth,” Ayre revealed.
#5 Gabriel Heinze
In 2007, Liverpool had the audacity to attempt to sign a player from their arch-rivals Manchester United. Heinze wanted to leave Manchester United due to lack of playing time and this led to a feud with Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Argentine claimed that he had a letter signed by David Gill, the former chief-executive at Manchester United, stating that the player could leave if any club met his valuation believed to be around £6.8 million.
However, when Liverpool entered the fray, things got out of hand. Man Utd were adamant that the letter only concerned a move abroad and eventually the dispute reached a Premier League tribunal.
The panel decided that the above-mentioned letter from Gill did not constitute a definitive undertaking from Manchester United to let the player leave.
Before the tribunal, Heinze made one last plea to let him leave the club to join Liverpool.
“My idea has not changed and my objective is to go to Liverpool, I will always be grateful to United, but now I hope they allow me to get my wish.”
However, Ferguson was adamant that he wouldn’t be the first player to sanction a direct transfer between Manchester United and Liverpool since Phil Chisnall joined Bill Shankly’s Reds in 1964.
As for Heinze, he got his transfer away from Manchester United by joining Real Madrid.
#4 Dani Alves
This transfer story dates back to 2006 when Dani Alves was a 23-year-old making a name at Sevilla.
Sevilla had agreed to sell the player and Liverpool were keen on signing him but Rafa Benitez believed that the club’s asking price of £8 million was too much. Both clubs were adamant that they wouldn’t change their valuation of the player. In hindsight, that fee looks like a steal.
In 2017, Alves revealed that he had an agreement in place with Liverpool.
“I pretty much had an agreement with Liverpool. But for whatever reason, it didn’t happen at the last moment and I really don’t know why, as I wasn’t the one conducting the negotiations. I had other people representing me back then.”
After his failed move to Liverpool, Alves joined Barcelona in 2008 for €32.5 million and at the Catalan club, he won 23 trophies in an eight-year period. During the same time, Liverpool’s only trophy was a League Cup triumph in 2012. Alves is now the most decorated player in football.
#3 Luis Figo
In 2005, former Ballon d’Or winner, Luis Figo was free to leave Real Madrid and the player was keen to join Liverpool.
“It’s my dream to play for Liverpool but dreams don’t always come true, I am still waiting.” – Figo said in 2005.
Figo, who was 32-years-old at that time would have added experience and more quality to a Liverpool side that had just won the UEFA Champions League.
Liverpool put in a firm offer for the player and apparently also agreed to terms with the club before changing his mind and moving to Inter Milan. He later explained the reason behind choosing Inter.
”I had a great offer from Liverpool and they were really interested in me, but as soon as I arrived in Milan my mind was made up.
They treated me like a friend and I felt at home from the start. I now want to win everything at Inter.”
#2 Simao Sabrosa
Figo was not the only Portuguese winger Liverpool failed to sign in the summer of 2005 despite being defending European Champions.
Simao was at Benfica in 2005 and at that point, he had scored 66 goals in 153 games for the club and was one of the best wingers in the world.
The move was very close to completion as the player was given permission to leave the Portuguese camp to fly to Liverpool to complete his medical. However, Benfica was not keen on losing their captain and raised their asking price to £13.6million and Liverpool was not willing to pay more than £12.3 million.
Interestingly, when Liverpool signed Fernando Torres from Atletico Madrid in 2007, Atletico Madrid replaced the Spaniard with Simao!
#1 Gareth Barry
Gareth Barry is not the biggest star in this list, but his failed transfer to Liverpool has to be on the top of the list for one big reason. Not only did Liverpool fail to sign the player, a move for Barry was a big reason behind Xabi Alonso’s departure.
In 2008, Rafa Benitez wanted to replace Alonso with Barry after the Spaniard had two injury-ridden seasons. However, the Anfield crowd was clearly in disagreement and voiced their opinion by chanting in favour of Alonso and against Barry.
The England international was also keen on moving to Liverpool and he was even fined two weeks wages by Aston Villa for giving a want-away interview. However, Liverpool’s troubled finances under then-owners Gillet and Hicks mean that the Merseyside club couldn’t finalise a deal.
Barry ended up staying at Villa for one more season while Alonso had his best season in Liverpool colours before moving to Real Madrid in the summer of 2009. Liverpool attempted to sign Barry again in 2009 to replace Alonso but he opted to move to the now cash-rich Manchester City.
“I met the City manager Mark Hughes in a hotel. He emphasised the ambition of the owners. He described it as a speeding train and his advice was to jump on.”
“I also spoke to Rafa Benitez at Liverpool but he didn’t completely convince me. He said he wanted me to come in, play left-back, left-midfield, centre midfield. That’s what I’d done at Villa, it wasn’t for me any more.”
In 2017, Steven Gerrard also said that he was against the idea of replacing Alonso with Barry.
“He (Benitez) wanted to move Xabi on and bring in Gareth, now, for me, that wasn’t the right move, although I’m a big fan of Gareth Barry.
“I’d rather have him in to play alongside Xabi because I think they could have worked together.
“I don’t think it was the right move from a Liverpool point of view to replace Xabi with Gareth. The fans love Xabi, he’s a world-class player, and for me, Rafa should have been doing everything to keep him and not have him move on.”