Heading into the January transfer window, there was plenty of noise about Liverpool looking to make a big signing early in the month. An attacking signing meant to cover for the injury to Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mané’s pending departure for the Africa Cup of Nations.
In the end, that signing never came. According to The Mirror’s David Maddock, though, there was serious intent on behalf of the club to get a deal done for none other than Julian Draxler, who in the end moved to Paris Saint-Germain in a £38M deal. And it wasn’t the fee that killed that deal.
Instead, according to Maddock—who is one of the English journalists with known ties at Anfield—the club had received permission to negotiate terms with the player. That means a fee had been agreed with Wolfsburg, or at the very least that an agreement wasn’t felt to be far off.
After opening negotiations with the player, PSG then made their move for the 23-year-old, and Draxler and his agent turned that interest on Liverpool and demanded a higher wage. Liverpool, feeling as though Draxler was changing his demands at a late stage, pulled out at Klopp’s behest.
While this will certainly be disappointing to fans, and while the club surely could have matched PSG’s wage offer—unreported but believed to be in the £80-100k per week range—this once again goes to show that Klopp was serious when he said he only wants the right players at the club.
He doesn’t want players who would only move for a guarantee of Champions League football, and he doesn’t want a player who would rather head to Paris Saint-Germain and the French league if they offer him a few dollars more. Right or wrong, that’s Klopp’s approach.
And, as has been shown again and again, Jürgen Klopp has been given final say at Liverpool. The money is there for him when he identifies a top target. The money, it would appear, was there to sign the pricy Draxler. Fans may disagree with the decision, but it’s clear who the man making it is.