Premier League • England

Liverpool at risk of huge transfer embarrassment after ‘declining’ chance to sign top star now bound for Chelsea

Josko Gvardiol, Amadou Haidara, Christopher Nkunku celebrate a RB Leipzig goal in Bundesliga game v FC Koln

Liverpool could have made a big mistake in the transfer market after a report explained why they were beaten to the signing of Christopher Nkunku by Chelsea.

Nkunku has been in glittering form for RB Leipzig over the past few years. Last season he registered 35 goals in all competitions to help Leipzig win their first DFB-Pokal and reach the Europa League semi-finals.

The attacking midfielder has managed 17 more goals in just 23 appearances so far this campaign. However, he was prevented from showing his talent at the World Cup as he missed the tournament due to a knee injury.

Nkunku could be out for 10 weeks in total, which would see him return towards the end of this month. He will be hoping to have a successful remainder of the season with Leipzig, as it will be his last in Germany.

In September, it emerged the Frenchman had undertaken a secret Chelsea medical ahead of a transfer to Stamford Bridge. And on December 17, transfer expert Fabrizio Romano revealed his transfer to Chelsea was complete.

All documents have been signed, including those with Leipzig and on the player side too. Graham Potter’s team have agreed to pay more than Nkunku’s full release clause to get his signing over the line early. They will reportedly pay £63million for the versatile attacker.

Given his impressive goalscoring exploits with Leipzig, Nkunku is highly likely to become a big success in England. He could form an electric attacking partnership with the likes of Kai Havertz, Raheem Sterling and Mason Mount.

Liverpool have been linked with a move for the 25-year-old on a couple of occasions. Reports in October tipped them to steal the transfer from under Chelsea’s nose, although this never actually happened.

Liverpool rejection of Christopher Nkunku explained

The Telegraph now provide a report on Jurgen Klopp, Pep Lijnders and their transfer plans at Liverpool. And it includes some interesting information on Nkunku potentially moving to Anfield.

They claim Liverpool had the chance to sign him last summer, way before Chelsea struck an agreement with Leipzig.

Klopp and Lijnders were considering his arrival for a small amount of time. He could have competed with the likes of Mo Salah, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez for a starting spot as he can operate anywhere across the forward line.

But Klopp and Lijnders ultimately ‘declined’ the chance to sign Nkunku. This allowed the former Paris Saint-Germain ace to join Chelsea, where he will aim to prove Klopp and Lijnders wrong by becoming one of Potter’s most important stars.

Liverpool are at risk of embarrassing themselves with the Nkunku rejection. If he turns himself into one of the Prem’s top scorers, then they will know exactly how they have missed out.

So Klopp and Lijnders will be hoping Nkunku has a more understated impact on his arrival in west London.

Those at Liverpool will not be thinking about Nkunku too much anyway. This is because they now have their own shiny new attacker.

The club spent an initial £37m, plus £13m in add-ons, to capture Cody Gakpo from Dutch club PSV Eindhoven. And Klopp will be hugely excited about him after his exceptional form so far this season.

He managed an impressive 13 goals and 17 assists during the first half of the campaign for PSV. And Gakpo continued his goal-getting at the World Cup, bagging three times for the Netherlands before their quarter-final exit.

Meanwhile, there has been an update on Roberto Firmino’s future at Liverpool, amid Saudi Arabian clubs wanting to sign him.