New Napoli recruit Piotr Zielinski has claimed that Jurgen Klopp wanted to sign him “badly” for Liverpool.
Midfielder Zielinski was one of Klopp’s top targets this summer as the German embarked on his first summer transfer window at Anfield.
The Udinese man eventually signed for Serie A side Napoli, but not before Liverpool had been heavily linked with the player and were reported to have made a £9.5million bid.
AC Milan and his then-loan club, Empoli, were also interested in his services, but it was the Naples club who clinched the deal for £8.5million – £1million less than the offer submitted by Klopp.
The 22-year-old Poland international told Przeglad Sportowy that it was a difficult decision, saying: “There were days when I was walking out of home, looked into my mobile and I didn’t know what to do.
“I spoke a lot with Konrad Golos and Tomasz Dawidowski – my managers from the agency representing me.
“Everyone said: ‘Great offer, Klopp wants you, it’s a fairytale in terms of finances’. All fine, but I wasn’t convinced.
“I was driving my car and I said to my girlfriend: ‘No, red light, I’m not leaving’. I felt great in Empoli, I didn’t want to leave the lads when we were battling for the European places.
“My head was a mess. Liverpool finally got a plane and I met with Jurgen Klopp. He said he wanted me in his team. I saw a different world and after returning my head was even a bigger mess.
“I really wanted to start the preparations for the new season with a new team as soon as possible,” he added.
“I knew that Liverpool wanted me badly and I knew they would return to the talks as I got that promise in January. It didn’t work out for them with Udinese at the end.
“Milan’s offer was dependent on the club’s takeover by Chinese investors. With Napoli, I knew the coach and lots of the lads from the team. I’m happy I came here.
“I think it is ideal in terms of my football characteristics. I’ve met plenty of technical players.
“I found myself in Napoli and I feel more confident day by day.”