Nabil Fekir has revealed the true cause of the collapse of his transfer to Liverpool in 2018 and how “difficult” he found the situation.
Fekir was on the verge of signing for Liverpool three years ago in a transfer that had their fans excited. After making a name for himself with Lyon, the midfielder was subject of an offer from the Reds. It was a move that seemed suitable for all parties.
However, before he could make his move official, the deal collapsed. The reasons at the time were unclear, but one theory was that there had been an issue with his medical. Specifically, there were said to be concerns about his knee.
Fekir’s relative lack of an injury record since suggests there was little to be concerned about. Indeed, he has now revealed that the medical was not the reason his transfer collapsed – rather his agent.
“It was a dark moment,” Fekir told The Times.
“I saw plenty of things which weren’t true. It was said the knee stopped me going to Liverpool but that wasn’t true.
“I went to Clairefontaine [France’s football centre near Paris], and they did all the proof [medical] and the knee was fine.
“I had a problem with my agent, my adviser. It was the agent [who was] responsible for the deal not going through.”
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Fekir ultimately remained with Lyon for one more season. Liverpool had already arranged to sign Fabinho and Naby Keita to strengthen their midfield that summer, but playmaker Fekir would have added them a different dimension.
This was, of course, a few months after they sold Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona. Fekir may have helped fill that void, although he never got the chance.
He has admitted that it disappointed him, especially after a positive meeting with Liverpool’s manager.
“Of course I was disappointed not to go to Liverpool, very disappointed because Liverpool are a great club,” he said.
“I met the coach, Jurgen Klopp, and it went well. After meeting him, I wanted to join Liverpool even more. He’s a good person.
“It was really difficult to deal with as I really wanted to go to Liverpool. It was a moment that was not easy for me.”
Fekir happy at Real Betis
After waiting another year, World Cup winner Fekir did seal a move away from Lyon, although it wasn’t to where would have been expected.
He signed for Real Betis in 2019, forming part of a squad that finished 15th in his first La Liga season but then sixth last term. Europa League football will be on offer this year as a result.
Now 28 years old, the left footer is glad to have landed somewhere he feels happy, which has helped him move on from the Liverpool disappointment.
“I was sad about Liverpool but I’m OK now,” he said.
“Betis are a family club. I was very welcomed here, and my family too.
“They put everything in place to make sure players feel comfortable. Betis are a club with a lot of history, fantastic fans.”
Fekir was linked with Arsenal in recent months, but his comments seem to suggest he is still happy in Seville, where Betis are based. His contract with them runs until 2023.