Liverpool transfer fail revealed as details emerge of bungled bid to sign next Man City superstar

Jeremy Doku and Josko Gvardiol of Manchester City during Premier League game against Chelsea

Jeremy Doku and Josko Gvardiol of Manchester City

In-form Manchester City winger Jeremy Doku could have been turning out for Liverpool instead had Jurgen Klopp’s plans to sign the Belgium winger worked out as planned, a transfer expert has revealed.

The Blues moved to snap up the Belgium winger over the summer, paying Rennes some €60m (£55.5m) to lure Doku across the English channel. Some felt the fee Manchester City paid for the 21-year-old looked on the pricey side, though three goals and six assists from just 14 appearances so far suggest it will be another shrewd addition for Pep Guardiola.

Currently the 21-year-old boasts a goal contribution for every 78 minutes he has been on the field; form that already earmarks him as an early candidate for the Young Player of the Season if he can maintain his own high standards.

Clearly his signing has made the Cityzens forget all about Riyad Mahrez, the man he replaced.

And Guardiola will be hoping for more magic from the jet-heeled Belgian when City resume their Premier League title defence against Liverpool in an eagerly-anticipated game this Saturday lunchtime.

However, it could all have been a very different story for the 17-times capped Belgium star, who had long been on Liverpool’s radar before his move to the Etihad.

The Reds looked at signing Doku at numerous times over the years, including the summer when they actually bought Mohamed Salah to the club and again a few years later when Luis Diaz joined during the January 2022 window.

However, never did they come closer to signing Doku was when the player was just 15 years of age and prior to his move to Anderlecht.

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City star Jeremy Doku was close to Liverpool transfer

Praising the impact he has made at City, Liverpool expert Neil Jones revealed how it came to pass that Doku slipped through Klopp’s fingers.

“Liverpool will be up against perhaps the most exciting player in the Premier League this weekend,” Jones told Caught Offside. “Jeremy Doku has been sensational since joining Manchester City, and Trent Alexander-Arnold and Co will have their work cut out trying to stop the Belgian star.

“Doku was linked quite regularly to Liverpool during his time at both Anderlecht and Rennes, and I understand he was close to moving to Anfield as a 15-year-old.

“He has revealed himself that he was shown around the training ground (then Melwood) and that he had conversations with Jurgen Klopp and some senior Reds players, but chose to stay at Anderlecht.

“That was Liverpool’s chance, because once Doku was into the first team at Anderlecht, and once he had moved on to Rennes, it was never likely that he would move to Merseyside.”

Klopp may live to regret transfer fail

Doku will certainly be the player to halt this weekend and combating his quick breaks and dribbling will test the Reds’ rearguard to the max.

Jones says though that Liverpool’s chance to sign him came when he was younger, instead targeting other players with comparable attributes.

“The Reds have consistently targeted attacking players of a similar profile – versatile, aged between 22 and 25, with 150+ senior games under their belt and with a proven output in terms of goals and assists.

“That’s what they were prepared to pay big money for with the likes of [Darwin] Nunez, Diaz, [Cody] Gakpo and [Diogo] Jota, and before that Salah and Sadio Mane, and it has brought them plenty of success. They certainly haven’t struggled for talented left-sided forwards in recent years.”

Jones added: “A club like City is much more likely to take a big-money punt on someone like Doku.

“The good news for Pep Guardiola is it looks like the punt is going to pay off, big time.

“Liverpool won’t regret missing out on him last summer, but they may regret their failure to turn his head back in 2017…”

The trouble for Liverpool is, if they do manage to stop Doku, they will then also have to work out how to also tame the likes of Erling Haaland, Phil Foden and Erling Haaland.

Not that Liverpool should worry; in Salah and Nunez they have two form players of their own.

A cracking game awaits….

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