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Liverpool hijack Man United transfer plans for third time in year and it’s down to one man



Liverpool hijack Man United transfer plans for third time in year and it’s down to one man

Liverpool completed the Alexis Mac Allister deal but Man United were also interested in signing the Argentine. The Reds snatched the midfielder from Brighton for a bargained price of £35M.

At first, the transfer opportunity for Alexis Mac Allister looked very simple. Resurgent Manchester United are on one side who finished 3rd in PL and secured the UEFA Champions League spot. They also won the EFL Cup and reached the final of the FA Cup.

On the other hand, there was Liverpool who had a bad season as per their standards. They finished in 5th place failing to qualify for UCL. They also had a terrible domestic season where they failed to win anything. Thus, now they will be competing in UEFA Europa League.

But still, football is rarely this straightforward also when Jurgen Klopp is involved in it. The club’s owner FSG has always been a smart spender and has been very selective about which players to sign.

Jorg Schmadtke and the Merseysider’s recruitment team are the ones who deserve the credit for signing Mac Allister for this cheap. Also competing with English giants like Manchester City and Manchester United is not everyone’s cup of tea.

£35m for Alexis Mac Allister is already the deal of the summer transfer window and it hasn’t even opened! 🙌

— LFC Transfer Room (@LFCTransferRoom) June 7, 2023

Liverpool hijacking Alexis Mac Allister and other Man United targets

Alexis Mac Allister is not the only player that Liverpool have signed for this cheap. Virgil Van Dijk signed for the Reds despite being on the wishlist of Chelsea and Manchester City back in 2018. The Dutchman after signing for the club for a £75M transfer fee, said:

“Everybody obviously from a Liverpool perspective knows how lively he is, how he can make players better and give them confidence. It just suits me as well.”

Virgil Van Djik talking About Jurgen Klopp

Another player who rejected the Red Devils and came to Anfield was Sadio Mane. He moved to Liverpool back in 2016 rejecting the Manchester side. Mane commented,

“I have to say, I was really close to going to Manchester United. I had the contract there. I had it all agreed.

It was all ready, but instead, I thought, ‘No, I want to go to Liverpool’, I was convinced to go with (Jurgen) Klopp’s project.

I still remember the first time I got the call from Klopp.He said, ‘we have a big project at Liverpool and I want you to be part of it’.”

Sadio Mane talking about his transfer to Liverpool at the farewell interview before leaving the club last summer

Also, last season’s signings Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo would’ve joined United. But the club’s immediacy and smartness to sign them paid off.

These signings prove that Liverpool might not be financially well-rounded like their Premier League rivals but they are more than sufficient for pursuing players they want.


Two decisions in 20 days cost Liverpool Jude Bellingham transfer

The Jude Bellingham transfer saga is very nearly at an end after Borussia Dortmund confirmed they had agreed a fee with Real Madrid for the England international.

Speculation regarding the teenager’s future has been rife for the best part of two years, but despite strong interest from the likes of Liverpool and Man City over this time, the lure to become the latest Galactico at the Bernabeu has won out.

Moving to Madrid for an initial £88.5m, Bellingham could potentially become the most expensive British player of all time with add-ons taking the value of the deal to £115m. However, such a fee is still considerably less than the £130m that was originally reportedly demanded by the Bundesliga outfit.

Of course, Liverpool have known that they would not be signing Bellingham for quite some time, having withdrawn interest in the Borussia Dortmund star back in early-April. Set to miss out on the Champions League for the first time since 2016, there were suggestions they had been priced out of the move as a result. Meanwhile, it became clear that the Reds required multiple quality new arrivals in midfield as their disappointing season unravelled rather than one marquee addition.

READ MORE: Liverpool transfer news LIVE – Alexis Mac Allister confirmed, Orkun Kokcu competition, Romeo Lavia race

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Yet with such a stance coming at a time when a £130m asking-price was still being thrown about, an £88.5m transfer fee will prompt questions from a perplexed Liverpool fan-base.

The signing of Alexis Mac Allister from Brighton for an undisclosed fee, with recent reports varying between £35m and £55m courtesy of a release-clause inserted into his latest Seagulls contract signed last October, at least suggests the Reds were well-aware they would be left fishing in a different pond. The ECHO understands that the Argentina international was earmarked as a key target prior to last winter’s World Cup, after all.

But, with flirtations with Bellingham ongoing over the past two years, it is still head-scratching how Liverpool never came close to signing the England international. They had seemingly been well-placed to sign him at the start of the year, and had put off any new midfield signings last summer in favour of waiting it out for the Borussia Dortmund star.

Meanwhile, club sources were open acknowledging the Reds’ interest in the 19-year-old, while Jurgen Klopp commented publicly on the player on a number of occasions. Throw in his close friendships with both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jordan Henderson on international duty, along with public ‘love-ins’ with club legend Steven Gerrard, and it wasn’t just wishful thinking from a Liverpool fanbase fantasising about the prospect of Bellingham moving to Anfield.

Yet come April 11 and the Reds had publicly removed their hat from the ring. And by the end of the month, both Real Madrid and Man City had been informed of the player’s preference to move to the Bernabeu.

The Athletic report that Bellingham had ‘expressed his eagerness to be part of a project including young players with enormous potential,’ with Man City made aware of his decision before the two sides locked horns in the Champions League semi-finals on May 9.

Yet Madrid had reportedly been pessimistic about signing Bellingham just a few months earlier, believing they couldn’t compete financially with the interested Premier League sides. Unable to afford Dortmund’s £130m asking price, they even initially considered €100m to be excessive. Despite this, a compromise was reached with it seemingly a one-horse race for the England international by the time the two clubs thrashed out a deal.

So how, in the space of six months, did Real Madrid go from fearing they would miss out on Bellingham to Liverpool or Man City, to ending up as the only side left standing for his signature?

April was evidently decisive with the Reds pulling out before the midfielder made his decision known.

While the Reds were resigned to a deal becoming too expensive, it is unclear whether such a decision was made with regards to the initial reported asking price or Madrid’s agreed fee.

With Liverpool’s struggles this season also ensuring they were not in a position to blow the majority of their budget on one marquee signing, only club bosses know definitively if such a stance would have been different had the Reds’ engine-room not been in dire need of a multi-body revamp.

Meanwhile, while Bellingham decided upon Real Madrid by the end of April, only those close to the player will be able to answer if his next destination would have been different if Liverpool had still been in the running, or if his mind was already made up. Ultimately, it all comes down to which of the two decisions from club and player came first.

So did the Reds withdraw their interest to save face, acknowledging that such a transfer was no longer feasible, or did an unfortunate build-up of circumstances falling against them result in Bellingham slipping through their fingers?

Either way, Liverpool have again missed out on a player they have been courting since he was an 11-year-old at Birmingham City. For the Reds, this long-running transfer saga has ended unsuccessfully after pulling up short well before the finish-line.


Premier League rules might hint at next Liverpool signing after Alexis Mac Allister

Liverpool turn their attention elsewhere as midfield rebuild goes on following Alexis Mac Allister transfer

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Jurgen Klopp has an obvious answer to his next major Liverpool decision

Upon Jurgen Klopp’s arrival in 2015, the Liverpool boss set up a players’ committee within his squad.

Alongside club captain Jordan Henderson and vice-skipper James Milner, the likes of Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Leiva were also involved before the evolution of the team led to Virgil van Dijk and Gini Wijnaldum being promoted to it in 2018.

Alongside long-serving skipper Henderson and Milner, Van Dijk and Wijnaldum completed a quartet of on-field leaders within the squad who would often consult on any of the wide-ranging issues the players had as a collective.

Having first watched Wijnaldum depart two years ago and now Milner leave as a free agent, however, Klopp has just two players left from that team whose unseen work helped foster the culture that led to such a successful period in recent years.

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READ MORE: Liverpool hijack Man United transfer plans for third time in year and it’s down to one man

“The players see it in the right way – that the players could do the job,” Klopp once said when discussing how the candidates are selected. The exit of Wjnaldum saw the group expanded from three to six in 2021 as Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson were all promoted to the platform.

“I enjoy the responsibility,” Alexander-Arnold told the ECHO in February. “It’s something I like, I always have and I think I always will. I think I have always been one of the most competitive players on the team and I think that rubs off on the lads as well.

“People go about it in different ways but I have always thought I am someone who can motivate others by what I do on the pitch and the people around me. So I think in that way I have enjoyed the responsibility. And that is something I enjoy, going out there and being a leader and leading by example.

“[It means a lot] definitely as it was voted for by the lads as well, which means a lot. If the manager picks it, it means he sees that in you but it’s always good coming from your team-mates and lads you share the dressing room with, who you see in and around the building. They know who the leaders are and who they look for in motivation and to lead them. So it is an honour and I enjoy the responsibility.”

The exit of Milner might see Van Dijk earn the promotion to vice-captain at Anfield but the departure of the veteran presents an opportunity for someone else to become one of the new leaders.

“We’ve built a relationship up where it is good cop-bad cop,” Henderson said recently of former team-mate Milner. “Milly collects the fines and things are very much black and white. The lads say to me, ‘Hendo, I got stuck in traffic, it wasn’t my fault’. They know I’m softer. Milly? Not a chance. It’s just, ‘Fine! No! It’s done!’ That’s him.”

So the job of succeeding the famously demanding and uber-professional Milner is not one to be taken lightly but it is a role within the Liverpool squad that needs to be filled given the chemistry it has seemingly created behind the scenes.

Perhaps Klopp might keep his leadership committee to a lean five following Milner’s exit but if there is to be a space available there are several who might have a shot at it.

Diogo Jota’s standing within the squad is growing all the time while Fabinho is now five years into a Reds career that has seen him win every top-level trophy. Perhaps, though, it is Thiago Alcantara whose claims are strongest?

The 32-year-old midfielder has been troubled by fitness issues during his near three years at Liverpool but his decorated CV at both club and international level and his years of experience mark him out as an ideal solution, even if his particular brand of leadership off the pitch is likely to be in stark contrast to the ‘bad cop’ that is Milner.

Thiago may be entering the final 12 months of his Liverpool contract but the cultured midfielder is considerably more valuable to Klopp in the squad for the coming season than he is being offloaded for a relatively paltry sum. A promotion to the leadership panel makes perfect sense.

As Klopp continues his summer rebuild following the arrival of Alexis Mac Allister this week, it seems there is more to consider where his squad is concerned than just who he is going to add to it.


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