Liverpool came close to buying Nabil Fekir this summer but while that transfer would bolster the squad it would not improve the first team.
Liverpool wanted Nabil Fekir. They really did. The club came within a whisker of completing his transfer. As you probably know there is a video on some hard drive at Anfield of Fekir posing in a Liverpool shirt and talking about his dream move to Merseyside.
Then it all fell apart. Or rather the Liverpool medical team were worried about Fekir’s knee falling apart. The common consensus is that he ‘failed the medical’. That is not quite accurate as it is not a pass/fail test.
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However there were serious concerns about a knee injury he had in 2015 and the second surgery he went under in January 2018. Ultimately there was too much uncertainty about the long-term stability of that knee.
It was a huge blow for the club and fans. Many Reds were salivating at the prospect of Nabil Fekir joining the blistering trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. There were hundreds of “Best XI” team sheets with Fekir behind that front three with Fabinho and Naby Keita in midfield.
But the reality is Fekir was not being bought to play in the midfield trio. Not that he would never play there – we saw Philippe Coutinho operate behind those three more than a few times. But like the Brazilian the emphasis would be on rotation.
Fekir would have given Liverpool a first-rate option to rest Mane, Salah or Firmino. And to replace them in the case of injury or suspension.
The 4-0 win against West Ham yesterday on the opening day of the Premier League season highlighted how good this Liverpool side already is. Does Fekir replace Keita? Obviously not. Does he out perform the outstanding James Milner or Gini Wijnaldum? Probably not.
Those three are central midfielders. Fekir is an attacker that can play midfield – not dissimilar to Xherdan Shaqiri. Neither the midfield trio from yesterday’s game nor the front three gets better with Fekir.
Would he have given us vital depth and flexibility? Absolutely. He is a top player. But I think any improvement to the first is negligible and restricted to specific matchups. He would not improve Jurgen Klopp’s side in the same way that Virgil van Dijk has or that Keita is set to do.
I would not be surprised if Liverpool make a move for him again in January or next summer but we do not need worry about missing out on him now while everyone is fit and healthy.