By Maxi – @Maxi_1892
The official opening day for the transfer season was back on June 8, but Liverpool’s preparations began a long time before that.
In February 2017, a certain Naby Keita started ticking all of the boxes on Edward’s laptop. Only six months into his breakout season, he had already attracted the attention of Europe’s elite – the likes of Manchester United, Barcelona, Bayern and, of course, Liverpool were keeping close tabs on the Guinean.
Fast-forward five months and Liverpool are fighting for Keita’s signature, but instead of battling it out between Barcelona, they were at war with a man called Ralf Rangnick.
After two unsuccessful bids thwarted by Leipzig’s manager, the player gave Jurgen his word and said he would wait for us.
Good news emerged as a clause in Keita’s contract was leaked, a release clause would come into play in the summer of 2018 for £48,000.000. Liverpool capitalised on that and agreed a deal to automatically activate that on July 1 of that year, along with a premium based RBL’s league campaign.
After a-year-and-a-half of trying, we were finally successful. Naby began Liverpool’s first bit of transfer business for the the summer of 2018 before the previous off-season window had even ended.
A different approach in the market this time round lead a deal to be done in record-breaking time, or so we thought.
LFC had quietly been pursuing Fabinho since early March, another player that attracted interest from all the top clubs including a late attempt from Arsenal.
It broke in the media that Liverpool held interest, then had submitted a bid, then had finalised the transfer, all within 12 hours of each other, yet interest stemmed back four months-prior to the £40,000,000 midfielder’s announcement on May 28.
Why was it so quiet? I believe it was because he wasn’t the first-choice target. Liverpool were very keen on signing the now-Chelsea man Jorginho. It was only after we heard his astronomical wage demands that turned our heads in the Monaco midfielder’s direction.
Up next was Nabil Fékir – moments before Chelsea played Liverpool at the end of the 2017-18 campaign, reports first broke of interest in the Frenchman, but he must have been scouted much earlier in the season.
Weeks went by after the reported interest left fans wondering why the deal for the Lyon man hadn’t been finalised due to the fact it was almost nailed on to happen.
Like Fabinho, like Keita, Fékir had his heart set solely on Liverpool. With Aulas being more than happy to sell initially, a deal was done after the UCL final for £50,000.000.
All was rosy, he undertook a medical, he did the media work, he did the lean, he even chose a shirt number which I revealed a few weeks prior – the deal was expected to be announced at 10pm. It wasn’t.
Reports emerged the following morning that Jean-Michel Aulas had blocked the transfer, but then contrasting reports emerged from England that it was Liverpool who had pulled-out, both stating the deal was dead due to concerns over his knee, leading the Reds to withdraw their initial offer.
Fékir had to fly out the next day to meet with the France squad ahead of the World Cup, leaving fans and journalists-alike shocked at what had happened.
I do believe Liverpool proposed new terms to Lyon but they were just too low, for now. We sit here a-month-and-a-half later and no reported talks have been held, is that the case behind the scenes? No.
With Fékir’s agent rumoured to be in Liverpool not too long ago, it gives me hope – Liverpool still want a No. 10 and. as far as I’m aware. that man is Fekir.
A current spanner in the works is Christian Pulisic. If he is truly available then Edwards will likely turn his attention to the American. That deal is being pushed by Henry and Co.
Pulisic has been of interest for a few years now and was the the subject of an £11m bid not too long ago. Although not naturally a No. 10, I have no doubt he would be ahead of Fékir on FSG’s wish list due to his age (and his dodgy knee).
Another problem is Aulas, as he won’t lower his terms as of yet, but then again neither will Edwards. Its a waiting game, but how long will we wait?
Shaqiri arrived at Anfield as the third signing. I’m surprised it wasn’t done before the word cup in all honesty – it was a simple process as he had a relegated release clause of £13,000,000 which was in-play following Stokes relegation.
Unsurprisingly, the deal was done and dusted only a few days after Shaqiri’s Switzerland’s exit in Russia.
He took the number 23 following Emre Can’s departure and scored a goal similar to the departing on his debut against United, albeit in a pre-season game and not a winner against Watford in the Premier League.
He’s an instant hit among the fans for his ability to light-up games with moments like this and, for £13m, he just might be the bargain of the season.
Arguably the best bit of business now – Alisson Becker. While Liverpool maintained an interest in the Brazilian from as far back as January, they have also had a liking for Jan Oblak.
With Atlético’s constant denial of negotiating that £80,000,000 release clause Liverpool moved for Alisson.
On Monday July 16, I learned that Liverpool had bid a record £60,000,000 which I tweeted-out that same night.
The next day, reports broke. With Chelsea also keen to sign the Roma stopper, Liverpool fans were nervous, but an unlikely hero emerged in the form of Roberto Firmino’s wife persuading Alisson’s other-half to chose Liverpool over London meant, like every other signing, the player only wanted us.
This didn’t hide the fact that AS Roma still wanted more money, but on Tuesday night, the deal was done. As I photoshopped that second tick on the clock, Liverpool agreed the £65,000,00 deal for the most expensive goalkeeper ever, official reports broke the following day and Alisson had signed for Liverpool.
Liverpool’s summer transfer window started the moment the January window closed. Are we done? No. Jurgen Klopp has taken a liking to Newcastle centre back Jamaal Lascelles and he could be the next to join.
Newcastle don’t want to sell their captain for obvious reasons but indeed we are looking at centre backs.
James Tarkowski and Presnel Kimpembe are also options that are being considered.
Meanwhile, the Fékir deal is on hold rather than actually being dead – I do believe we have chance, but Edwards has met his match with Aulas.
We are currently selling the deadwood so who knows what will happen with these added funds, but no matter what happens between now and the end of August, the summer transfer window of 2018 has been a roaring success.