Liverpool target reveals why personal Klopp plea failed, with £85m transfer miss paving way for even bigger deal

Real Madrid midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni

Aurelien Tchouameni confirmed Liverpool were “first” to act in the race to secure his signature last summer, though explained why he didn’t hesitate to snub Jurgen Klopp in a move that’s teed up an even bigger deal.

Most observers agree the area of Liverpool’s squad most in need of surgery is the midfield. Fabinho, Thiago and Jordan Henderson have all been reliable performers for Klopp, though the youngest of that trio is Fabinho at 29 and age is beginning to catch up with all three.

Elsewhere, Naby Keita, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all out of contract at season’s end.

Midfield woes have plagued Liverpool’s underwhelming season thus far, with many Reds fans questioning why action wasn’t taken in the last window.

Jurgen Klopp repeatedly stressed Liverpool would only move for the right player, not just any player.

The German did state Liverpool had tried to sign top class midfielders last summer, but to no avail. Klopp didn’t name names, though one was heavily tipped to be Aurelien Tchouameni.

Now, speaking to French outlet Le Parisien, the former Monaco destroyer confirmed Liverpool did try to sign him and were in fact “first” to come forward.

However, he went on to explain why he had no choice but to snub Klopp and Liverpool when Real Madrid came calling. Ultimately, the France international would move to Spain in a deal that could reach €100m (£approx. £85m at the time).

Liverpool a distant thought once Real Madrid came calling

“The first to come forward was Liverpool. We had discussions,” Tchouameni told French news outlet Le Parisien .

He added: “Then Real arrived. And in my head everything was clear. It was Real and not another. It’s the biggest club in the world.

“If you claim to accomplish great things, to mark the history of your sport, there is no better. So I didn’t hesitate for a second.

“I told my agent: as long as there is interest, we do everything to go there. I was already conditioned.

“When Paris showed up, my choice was already made, even if I was happy to be approached by PSG.”

Fabrizio Romano previously detailed Klopp’s efforts to sign Tchouameni.

Klopp personally called French ace

Speaking on his YouTube channel, the transfer guru said: “Liverpool only go for a player when they are 100% convinced it’s the right player for the project and the club.

“Who was the player? Jude Bellingham a lot of you said, but it was not Jude Bellingham, they asked about Jude Bellingham but it was not a negotiation.

“Liverpool really wanted Aurelien Tchouameni, they tried to enter that race until the end.

“Jurgen Klopp did his best for a deal, he called the player many times, he explained the project and the plan in midfield, but Tchouameni had an agreement with Real Madrid.”

“Klopp really wanted him, he was convinced that Tchouameni was the perfect player for the Liverpool midfield for their project, but sometimes players have different plans and that was the case for Tchouameni.”

Tchouameni miss stings, but has stiffened Bellingham resolve

While missing out on a top class midfielder has defined Liverpool’s season thus far, it may have ensured they’re in the race to complete an even bigger deal for Jude Bellingham.

Bellingham has been valued around the £130m mark by Borussia Dortmund and it appears unlikely Reds owners FSG would sanction a combined £215m outlay on two players.

FSG have since put the club up for sale, making it even unlikelier they’d be in for Bellingham if Tchouameni had already signed.

Bellingham is now Liverpool’s primary focus in 2023 and if they are able to pull off the record-busting coup, missing out on Tchouameni may prove a blessing in disguise.

READ MORE: Jude Bellingham draws Gerrard, Lampard hybrid comparisons after bossing England World Cup win