Premier League • England

Former Santos coach reveals how close Liverpool came to signing Real Madrid star

Rodrygo Real Madrid December 2020

Former Santos coach Elano has revealed just how close Liverpool came to beating Real Madrid to the signing of attacker Rodrygo.

The talented Brazilian winger is regarded as one of world football’s top young talents and is already a senior Brazil international at the age of just 20. However, he could have been lining up for the Reds instead, if Jurgen Klopp had got his way.

Indeed, former Manchester City forward Elano claims that the Reds pushed hard for a deal before Real eventually blew them out of the water in 2019.

Elano told ESPN: “There was a period when there was a very strong negotiation from Liverpool for him to leave when he was still very young.

“The values ​​were very low, but he wanted to go. Real’s offer later was around 30 million euros (around £25m) more.

“I had a conversation with people at Santos and I said that the boy was worth the bet. I told them we should raise him because I would like to work with him.

“Thank God everything worked out thanks to Rodrygo.”

Given Elano’s explanation, it appears that Liverpool did not value the player anything like Real did.

Rodrygo has gone on to score 11 goals in 73 appearances for Real, including two in 14 outings this term.

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Konate reveals relentless Klopp chase

Meanwhile, Ibrahima Konate described Liverpool as a “mythical” club when making a promise their fans will love, and revealed the lengths Jurgen Klopp went to to get the transfer over the line.

After surrendering their Premier League crown in meek fashion last season, many expected Liverpool to splash the cash last summer. However, only the lone figure of Konate arrived as Liverpool strived to ensure they would not be caught short at centre-half again.

The Frenchman, 22, was signed in a position of strength. With Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez already established and back from injuries, the jury was out on how much Konate would play.

Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konate stood next to manager Jurgen Klopp 2021

Nonetheless, his early signs in limited appearances have been encouraging. And at £36m, his transfer will likely look a bargain in the years to come. And what’s more, the player’s attitude appears to be spot on too.

In a recent interview with French TV station Canal+ (via Sport Witness), Konate promised he’ll do “everything to earn his spot”. He also acknowledged he may have to bide his team for an extended run in the team. But he indicated he has already adapted to his initial role as a squad player well.

“I told myself that if I come to Liverpool, yes it’s another level, but I trust my abilities,” said Konate. “So I’m going to do everything to earn my spot, whether it be short-term or long-term”.

Konate made to feel welcome

Konate also spoke about the £36m transfer that brought him to Anfield from RB Leipzig. In doing so, he outlined the role Klopp played and labelled Liverpool a “mythical” club.

“When you arrive in such a club, you do so with a bit of apprehension,” he admitted.

“But [it helps] if there’s a club ready to put such an amount on you, and the manager is talking to you, making you understand he wants you.

“Jürgen Klopp is, I think, one of the best managers in the world. We spoke a lot on the phone. I asked him personal questions, he did too.

“What I really felt was a trust. I felt this club was really a mythical club, different from the others. I felt myself being here even before I’d signed. So all this is why I took the decision to come to this club.”

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