When Liverpool sold Luis Suarez to Barcelona, the club knew it needed a similar attacking focal point to replace him and, for many, the shortlist began and ended with one name: Alexis Sanchez. According to most reports at the time, the club felt similarly and had pushed hard to get the then-Barcelona forward back as part of the deal.
In the end, though, Sanchez preferred Arsenal, and the whispers out of Anfield from club-connected journalists at the time claimed there was really only one reason, and that was location. All other things being equal, Sanchez would have ended up at Anfield, and a deal had been all but done to do just that. Or at least that's how the story went.
"There was much publicised interest in Alexis Sanchez," outgoing Liverpool managing director told those gathered to see him speak at John Moores University this week when he was asked about the not-quite deal to get Sanchez to replace Suarez, a failure that resulted in a disappointing follow-up to what had been a title challenging previous season.
"That deal was done," he added, before confirming that just as many had expected all along, the club's failure to sign Sanchez in the endcame down to location, location, and—you guessed it—location. "The only reason it didn't go through was the player and his wife wanted to live in London and we couldn't move the club to London unfortunately."
A year later, Ayre and the club got their Suarez replacement and a player with a very similar skill-set to Sanchez when they signed Roberto Firmino from Hoffenheim, but the damage had already been done and Liverpool had struggled through a year without a functional attack, disappointing in their return to the Champions League and failing to retain a place in the top four.
With Arsenal set to miss out on Champions League football next season, there are now growing rumours that Sanchez could depart the club over the summer. Liverpool have yet to be mentioned as potentially serious suitors for his services this time around.