Before Mohamed Salah, there was Julian Brandt, only the young German international was quick to signal his desire to remain at Bayer Leverkusen for another season and Liverpool were forced to turn their attentions from the 21-year-old German to the 25-year-old Egyptian.
Now, Brandt has opened up, at least a little bit, with Kicker, sharing the reasons why he decided to stay at Leverkusen for another season when there were rumours of serious interest from clubs that would have offered him higher wages and European football for the coming season.
“My gut and my head are telling me the time to move has not arrived yet,” he said today. “Of course there are players who say a year without European football before the World Cup is a reason to move, but if you go to a bigger club you risk taking time to settle which can mean playing fewer games.”
Brandt added that he wanted to help “straighten things out” at his current club, who dropped to 12th in Germany last season, before moving on. He reportedly had a €30M (£26M) release clause this summer that would have made a move relatively straight forward had he been open to it.
That means that moving from Brandt to Salah wasn’t necessarily the obvious progression. Brandt has a great deal of promise, but Salah is more proven, and with a far better goal return. And he’s likely to cost Liverpool at least £10M more than Brandt would have when everything’s said and done.
Liverpool fans saw a similar situation unfold last summer when the club abandoned a pursuit of Piotr Zielinski and instead moved for the more experienced—and more costly—Gini Wijnaldum. As for Brandt, there’s a chance that Liverpool could return for him next summer.
In a year, one that will hopefully see Brandt improve on his 4 goal, 11 assists, goal involvement every 189 minutes 2016-17 season, that release clause reportedly drops from €30M to just €12.5M, Brandt could look an even more appealing transfer target than he does already.