Liverpool made an opening offer of €32M for Alex Teixeira, and journalists with ties to the club claimed there was a willingness to raise that offer to €38M should Shakhtar Donetsk be willing to negotiate. Shakhtar wasn’t, and Liverpool signalled they were willing to walk away from the deal.
Whether it was an attempt to call what they believed to be a Shakhtar bluff or simply an acknowledgement that they were unwilling to meet the Ukrainian club’s stated €50M valuation, the end result was the same. And for fans, the hope was that whatever the reasoning, that it would get Shakhtar to start negotiating.
If anything, it appears to have had the opposite effect, with Shakhtar’s chief executive going public about the stalled negotiations between the two clubs over the 26-year-old attacker who, for all his clear talent, has yet to earn a single international cap and has spent his career to date toiling in a weaker league.
"Liverpool stopped at €32M and €4M of add-ons," said Sergei Palkin. "This was the last number offered, and our position is we do not want to sell Teixeira today. We will only sell at the end of the season. We need good results in the Europa League and Ukraine. At the end of the season we will sit down to negotiate."
Palkin went on to add that Shakhtar’s manager wanted Teixeira to stay until the end of the season, and that his release clause stood at €70M, more even than the €50M it has been reported they would sell him for. If this is how the Ukrainian club feel and not simply a counter-bluff, it would mean the deal is off.
Despite having scored 26 goals in 26 games this season, there remain concerns about Teixeira’s age and that he hasn’t put in numbers even close to this until the current season, which following the conflict with Russia and an exodus of talent sees the Ukrainian Premier League at its weakest in recent memory.
This year’s numbers are bordering on world class. Teixeira has a goal or assist at a rate of 1.19 every 90 minutes. Elsewhere, Luis Suarez leads top scorers in Europe’s top leagues with 1.4, in Germany Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has 1.3, and Gonzalo Higuain is at 1.18 in Serie A. England’s best, Jamie Vardy, is at 0.91.
The concern, though, is that those numbers have come when the Ukrainian league is at its weakest, and that last season he had 0.77 goals and assists per 90. The year before it was 0.38. Which means he’s either a late bloomer to become a star in a top league or just a very good player benefitting from a league’s decline.
Those feeling confident he’s a superstar lacking a platform will point to how highly rated he was as a young talent when he left Brazil. Those concerned will point out that, over the past two seasons, while he has 1.15 goals and assists per 90 in Ukrainian football he has only had 0.51 in European competition.
Either way, with only three days left in the window, it’s looking increasingly unlikely we will get to find out whether Teixeira can adapt quickly to life in the Premier League, with Liverpool loath to pay more than €38M for the attacker and Shakhtar wanting €50M at the very least.