Eight players Liverpool missed out on – and who they signed instead

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Liverpool supporters were left disappointed by the collapse of Nabil Fekir’s proposed move to Anfield in June 2018 – and will be hoping it doesn’t come back to haunt the club.

Fekir appeared set to join Liverpool in a £53million deal, but reports suggest the move was cancelled after a knee problem was picked up in the midfielder’s medical and a fee was unable to be renegotiated.

We’ve looked back at eight other deals the Reds came incredibly close to sealing in the Premier League era to see what happened next.

Teddy Sheringham

Former Liverpool boss Roy Evans wanted to sign a 29-year-old Sheringham from Tottenham in 1995 to add experience to a young squad featuring the likes of Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman and Jamie Redknapp.

“I had a chance to bring Teddy in, but the club policy on transfers was no players over 28,” Evans told The Anfield Wrap in 2011. “He went to play until he was 38, or was it 48!

“But we needed that experience. We had John Barnes, a bit of Rushie, but we needed a little bit more with those younger players.

“Teddy was a great player and knew when to party and when to play and he could have told those kids ‘This is the right time, this is the wrong time’ – that sort of help for Barnesy and Rushie might have gone down well.”

Sheringham, who actually went on to play until the age of 42, instead joined Manchester United, winning the Treble in 1999 and PFA Player of the Year in 2001. Liverpool turned their attentions to Stan Collymore, who had been and gone by 1997.

READ: Roy Evans talks Liverpool frustration, attacking football and battling Man Utd

Lee Bowyer

Perhaps not a fashionable name, but Bowyer had been the catalyst in Leeds United’s midfield during their run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2001.

The one-cap England international’s time at Elland Road, however, had been mired in controversy as he had to stand trial having been accused of GBH.

But Liverpool were willing to give Bowyer a chance to revive his career, only to be turned off by the player’s indifference during contract negotiations in the summer of 2002.

“I couldn’t believe Lee Bowyer had not jumped at the chance to play for Liverpool FC,” Phil Thompson wrote in his autobiography.

“Better players than him would have walked all the way to Anfield. We had made a big commitment on our side, but it had been all one way.”

Bowyer went on to eventually join West Ham in January 2003, where he was relegated, while the Reds plumped for Salif Diao, who failed to recreate his heroics at the 2002 World Cup.

READ: A forensic analysis of Salif Diao’s wonderful goal at the 2002 World Cup


Liverpool started the summer of 2005 as champions of Europe, but it was clear the squad needed upgrading.

Rafa Benitez identified Simao, who had just scored 22 goals to fire Benfica to the title, as the man for the troublesome left-wing berth.

“Now the operation is very advanced and we wait for a final solution in the next few hours,” the player’s agent, Jorge Baidek, told Sky Sports amid reports his client was flying to Merseyside for a medical.

But Benfica tried to up the transfer fee as the deal reached a conclusion and Liverpool pulled the plug.

Simao went on to score at Anfield as Benfica knocked Liverpool out of the Champions League. Harry Kewell started both legs of the defeat on the left wing.

Dani Alves

Liverpool were linked with Alves, then of Sevilla, in the summer of 2006, and the Brazil legend has since revealed he “pretty much had an agreement” with the Reds to make the move.

“For whatever reason it didn’t happen at the last moment and I really don’t know why,” he told FourFourTwo in 2017. “I had other people representing me back then.”

Alves, who won his first cap for Brazil that year, went on to join Barcelona in 2008, which didn’t work out too badly for either party.

Liverpool, meanwhile, signed Alvaro Arbeloa and Jermaine Pennant for their right-hand side. That went less well.

Loic Remy

Like the Fekir deal, a move for Remy appeared set to go through, only for the plug to be pulled after a medical had taken place.

Liverpool were concerned at a heart issue which had previously been detected at Marseille in 2010, despite the striker being cleared to play football four years prior to the Reds’ interest.

Remy instead left QPR for Chelsea, while Liverpool ‘replaced’ Luis Suarez with the combined signings of Rickie Lambert, Divock Origi and Mario Balotelli.

Alexis Sanchez

In the same summer as the Remy transfer saga, Liverpool made Sanchez their primary target to replace Suarez.

Despite the Reds reportedly offering more money for the forward, the player preferred a move to London and instead joined Arsenal.

“To not get him was obviously bitterly disappointing,” Brendan Rodgers rued. “He’s a world class player with outstanding quality and even bigger work rate. He would have been perfect for us.”

Rodgers even went on to admit that Lambert and Balotelli were not suitable signings for the style of pressing football he wanted to play.

Gareth Barry

Our Rob harbours a bit of a weird man-love for Barry, but even he admits it’s a bit mental to look back at Benitez wanting to replace Xabi Alonso with the then-Aston Villa man.

Liverpool supporters sang “you can stick your Gareth Barry up your arse” at a pre-season friendly and the club ultimately failed to clinch a deal for the England international.

The Reds went on to almost win the Premier League, thanks in no small part to the outstanding form of Alonso, but come the following summer the Spaniard departed for Real Madrid and Barry joined Manchester City.

READ: 17 of the best quotes on Xabi Alonso: “It was clear he was royalty’

Virgil Van Dijk

Liverpool landed themselves in a spot of bother in the summer of 2017 in their pursuit of Van Dijk.

Southampton made a formal complaint to the Premier League accusing the Reds of making an illegal approach for the defender, who met with Jurgen Klopp without permission from the Saints.

“We apologise to the owner, board of directors and fans of Southampton for any misunderstanding regarding Virgil van Dijk,” a Liverpool statement read. “We respect Southampton’s position and can confirm we have ended any interest in the player.”

Klopp was instead forced to stick with Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan in central defence – at least until January, when Liverpool finally landed their man by making Van Dijk the most expensive defender in history.


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