Kuyt Tried to Sell Sneijder on Liverpool Move

Julian Finney

While preparing for the second leg of the Europa League semi-final, ex-Red Dirk Kuyt reflected on the chance he could face Rafa Benitez in the final and revealed he tried to convince Wesley Sneijder to join Liverpool in January.

During the January transfer window, if rumours were to be believed, Liverpool weren't only interested in signing Philippe Coutinho from Inter—they were also chasing Wesley Sneijder. And it turns out Liverpool fans weren't the only ones who head the rumours and wondered what if, as ex-Red Dirk Kuyt admitted he gave his Dutch teammate a call when he first heard about the possibility.

"I got in touch with him as soon as I heard about the link," said Kuyt. "I tried to convince him that Liverpool would be a great step for him. I told him about the fans, the atmosphere in the ground and how special it is being part of such a unique club. I’ve no doubt he would have loved it and the fans there always appreciate a top player."

According to Kuyt, though, while Liverpool's interest in Coutinho turned out to be very real, any interest in Sneijder didn't advance past the earliest stages—and perhaps never existed at all. Sneijder, says Kuyt, was open to the idea, but he doesn't believe a move to Anfield was ever really on the cards.

"As far as I know, it wasn’t because he didn’t want to go there," explained the striker. "Liverpool were never that close to actually signing him. He knows it is a big club with a massive history and I think he would have been a hit in the Premier League.

"He’s at the top of the league with Galatasaray now, but it’s a shame ­Liverpool didn’t bring him in as I think he would have been perfect for them."

While Sneijder is top of the Turkish league with Galatasaray, Kuyt could soon be headed to the finals of the Europa League with Fenerbahce. Currently second in the Super Lig, they lead Benfica 1-0 with the second leg of the semi-final taking place tonight in Lisbon.

Meanwhile in the other semi-final, Chelsea host Basel with a pair of away goals and 2-1 advantage to their name—meaning Kuyt would face off against a Chelsea side with former manager Rafa Benitez in charge should both clubs hold on tonight and turn their advantages into advancement.

"I owe him a great deal but I would still love to beat him if we both make it to the final," added Kuyt of the chance he could end up taking on the manager who brought him to England in 2006. "I know from my experience with Liverpool that anything is possible. We’ve got a huge game in Benfica and it’s hard to look beyond that.

"But, like I say, if it did turn out that way it would be special."

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