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Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game during the UEFA Champions League Group G match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Picture date: Wednesday September 14, 2022.

7 transfer targets Liverpool missed out on last summer – & how they fared in 2022-23

The 2022-23 campaign didn’t quite go to plan for Liverpool. They kicked off the season by beating Manchester City in the Community Shield, but no further silverware followed and they failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 2016.

Having fallen just short of the quadruple the year before, it was a big summer for Jurgen Klopp’s Reds. Key man Sadio Mane departed for Bayern Munich, while Darwin Nunez, Calvin Ramsay and Fabio Carvalho were the three summer additions before Cody Gakpo joined in the winter.

Might things have gone differently had they conducted their business differently last summer? We’ve revisited seven players that Liverpool reportedly targeted, but missed out on, and how they fared last term.

Jude Bellingham

The England international’s name was ever-present in the gossip columns but you never had the feeling that Borussia Dortmund weren’t yet prepared to let him go.

As the German giants did with Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland before him, you got the feeling that they were prepared to dig in their heels and keep their star asset for one more season.

Twelve months on and Liverpool will surely regret not pushing the boat out to sign the generational talent. The gaping holes in their midfield was their biggest issue as they stuttered so badly last term, while Bellingham took his game to new levels.

He’s only just turned 20 but he almost led Dortmund to the title – he missed out through injury as his team-mates agonisingly blew their chance on the final day.

The midfielder was among England’s best players at the World Cup in Qatar and he was named the Bundesliga Player of the Season at the end of the campaign.

Those links to Liverpool continued to rumble on throughout the season, but over time they seemed increasingly fanciful.

In the end, Liverpool briefed to journalists that they were pulling out of the race to sign Bellingham in April, giving Real Madrid a free shot at landing the rising star.

READ: The 14 players to have moved for €100m or more – & how they fared

Arnaut Danjuma

GOAL reported last summer that Liverpool had identified Danjuma as a replacement for Mane.

The Dutch winger had shone in the Championship for Bournemouth, but really caught the eye after moving to Villarreal in 2021.

He was outstanding for Unai Emery’s Yellow Submarine in his debut season, one of their star players as they reached the Champions League semi-finals – where they were eliminated by Liverpool.

Danjuma ended up staying put at the Estadio de la Ceramica but fell out of favour after Emery left for Aston Villa.

“It’s quite fair and factual to say I’m among the best wingers in the world,” he once told The Guardian, but he didn’t really get a chance to demonstrate that bold claim in the latter half of last season on loan at Tottenham.

He made just one start for Spurs, who suffered an even more disappointing campaign than Liverpool in 2022-23.

Amadou Onana

Onana enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2021-22 with Lille, resulting in Premier League interest from a number of clubs. The Athletic reported that Nottingham Forest were particularly keen on his signature, while West Ham, Arsenal, Liverpool and Newcastle were also “also among his admirers”.

The Belgian did end up arriving in Merseyside, but he signed for Everton. They only narrowly avoided the drop and were desperately poor at times, but Onana was among their better players.

There are already suggestions that Everton will raise funds by cashing in on the 21-year-old asset.

Moises Caicedo

Now rated as one of the standout defensive midfielders in the country, if not all of Europe, this time last year Caicedo was seen as a youngster with lots of potential but he was yet to really establish himself in the Premier League.

At that point, the Ecuador international had spent half a season out on loan at Belgian club Beerschot and returned to make just eight appearances for Brighton.

But his quality was evidently already there to see for scouts and his name soon became a frequent fixture of the rumour mill.

After reportedly rebuffing Liverpool’s interest last summer, Brighton turned down a £60million bid from Arsenal in January. It will be interesting to see if they’re able to keep him this summer, with Chelsea said to be sniffing around.

Liverpool, of course, ended up signing his midfield partner Alexis Mac Allister.

Ousmane Dembele

Spanish outlet SPORT claimed that Liverpool contacted Dembele’s camp to “sound out” if the France international would be interested in joining Klopp’s squad.

There was nothing doing in the end. Dembele was out of contract at Barcelona last summer but he signed a new deal to remain at the Camp Nou until 2024.

Dembele’s usual injury issues continued, but when fit and available he was among Barcelona’s standout players as they claimed the 2022-23 La Liga title.

Jarrod Bowen

Outlets seemed to put two and two together and frequently link Bowen with a transfer after Klopp appeared bowled over by the forward following Liverpool’s clashes with West Ham in the 2021-22 season.

“I like Bowen a lot. He made his way up from Hull and took not too long to show exactly what kind of player he can be in the Premier League. He made big steps,” the Liverpool manager said.

“Bowen, what a player he became! Unbelievable. We saw him as well at Hull and he was really good at that time,” he added after the return fixture.

“I’m not sure a lot of people expected this jump, but unbelievable player.”

Bowen stayed put at West Ham but suffered something of a downturn in form. He was omitted from England’s World Cup squad and only scored six Premier League goals, but he came good in the end with the match-winning goal in the Hammer’s UEFA Conference League final victory over Fiorentina.

Nicolo Barella

You know there’s transfer hype when the Liverpool Echo give a player the Football Manager simulation treatment.

In the virtual world, Barela became “Liverpool’s most influential central midfielder, scoring seven goals and registering 11 assists in his debut season at Anfield” – and set-up the winning goal in the Champions League final.

In the real world, Barella remained with Inter. The 26-year-old Italian midfielder had another solid campaign and did play in a Champions League final, but he didn’t get an assist as the Nerazzuri suffered defeat to Manchester City.


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