Why Alexis Mac Allister spurned a late hijack attempt from Man Utd and insisted he join Liverpool has come to light.
The Argentine World Cup winner, 24, is on the cusp of completing a transfer from Brighton to Liverpool. Personal terms have long since been agreed, with Mac Allister in line for a triple-your-money raise from £50,000-a-week to £150,000-a-week.
The player has passed a medical and Fabrizio Romano reported earlier on Wednesday Liverpool had activated the clause in Mac Allister’s contract.
Precisely how much Mac Allister would set Liverpool back has been a subject of great debate. However, despite initial claims of the fee being close to £70m, Romano reported the final figure is a remarkably modest £35m.
Mac Allister to Liverpool thus has all the hallmarks of a masterstroke move. However, according to the Times, Klopp’s joy could so easily have turned to despair.
Indeed, the Times claimed Man Utd attempted to hijack Liverpool’s move for Mac Allister, with Erik ten Hag holding multiple chats with the player.
Ultimately, United’s last-gasp attempt at spoiling Liverpool’s plans did not pay off and Mac Allister’s move to Merseyside will be officially confirmed in short order.
One might expect Man Utd to have stood a good chance of wrecking Liverpool’s plans. Indeed, the fact they’re in next year’s Champions League and Liverpool aren’t is reason alone.
However, via the Athletic, why Mac Allister chose Liverpool and spurned Man Utd has come to light.
Difference in Klopp, Ten Hag plans key
They state the primary reason boils down to where Mac Allister would play for the two clubs chasing his signature.
At United, Mac Allister would’ve expected to feature in the double pivot alongside Casemiro. At Liverpool, he’ll be allowed greater freedom to roam forward on the left side of Klopp’s midfield three.
Per the report, Mac Allister’s father – former Argentina international, Carlos Mac Allister – had previously told Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi that Alexis prefers playing further forward. That is the role he thrives in with Argentina when playing on the left as a de facto No 10.
The Athletic add that’s virtually the same role Liverpool have in mind for Mac Allister, though a Klopp midfielder will always be tasked with tracking back too.
The positional dilemma factored into Mac Allister’s decision to choose Liverpool, while a second, albeit unconfirmed reason has been cited.
Mac Allister’s favourite shirt number is 10 and is what he’s worn during his time with Brighton.
Liverpool have not bestowed the 10 shirt on any player since Sadio Mane departed, though per the Liverpool Echo, the 10 shirt will be Mac Allister’s if he desires. Man Utd’s No 10 is Marcus Rashford who won’t soon be relinquishing it.
While the shirt number debate may well be a red herring, what is clear is Liverpool’s plans for Mac Allister proved more appealing than Man Utd’s.