Liverpool’s attempts to renegotiate the transfer fee to take Nabil Fekir from Lyon to Anfield at the eleventh hour was the trigger to the proposed £53m transfer falling through on Saturday evening, according to the Mirror.
It had looked as though Jurgen Klopp’s Reds had wrapped up the deal to sign the Frenchman prior to the World Cup following weeks of negotiations with the Ligue 1 club’s president Jean-Michel Aulas, but complications emerging during the player’s medical examination prior to the transfer had first raised alarms in the Liverpool camp.
Fekir had – at least according to initial reports – successfully completed the medical, and he had even undertaken his welcome interview with the club’s television channel in a Liverpool shirt.
However, concerns stemming from a serious knee injury Fekir had suffered while playing for France three years ago had put the brakes on the deal. The Mirror’s report intimates that Liverpool had proposed to Lyon that they lower the transfer fee because of those concerns – and needless to say, the French side did not play ball.
Kristian Walsh, of the Liverpool Echo, however denies those suggestions, while the New York Times’ Rory Smith claimed that it was in fact Liverpool who had pulled out of the deal after the medical examination results.
Lyon had issued a separate public statement denying that a deal had been agreed prior to their confirmation that the deal had been terminated, while numerous other reports suggest that the club are not happy with how publicly the deal has been played out. Nevertheless, it was Lyon who publicly confirmed the deal was off.
In a statement, Lyon wrote: “Olympique Lyonnais informs that the tripartite negotiations with the Liverpool club and Nabil Fekir for the transfer of the captain of OL have not succeeded and that Olympique Lyonnais has decided to put an end to this negotiation.
“Although the club Liverpool has been the priority of a possible transfer of Nabil, and subject to other proposals consistent with the interest of Nabil and OL and from ambitious clubs, Olympique Lyonnais is delighted soon to be able to count on the presence of the captain.
“He will lead the club going into the 2018/2019 season.”
Believe it or not, though, we might not have heard the end of this. While Lyon may have pulled the plug for now – meaning this transfer will definitely not take place until after the World Cup – there are suggestions that talks could recommence at the end of the tournament.
Spare us, please.