What we know for certain: Nabil Fekir, the 24-year-old France and Lyon attacking star, was not announced as Liverpool’s second new signing of the summer on Friday as was widely expected. What we don’t know for certain: just about everything else.
We know the player passed his medical, that interviews for his unveiling were completed, and personal terms were agreed. And that something happened to stop the deal going through. In the absence of fact, Fekir’s history of knee issues has become a talking point.
Now, we may have the closest we’re going to get to insight into what’s actually going on—at least until the situation resolves one way or another—thanks to the president of the French Football Federation, who spoke to Fekir about the situation this morning.
“I saw him this morning for 15 minutes,” Noël Le Graët told Le Progrès, insisting a deal is still on though perhaps not imminent. “He’s in the middle of negotiating, I think they will get it done. He was confident about it because the medical he underwent was positive.”
Le Graët’s words echo those reported by The Liverpool Echo and James Pearce, and for many will suggest his knee isn’t an issue. Yet while Fekir did pass the medical to Liverpool’s satisfaction, the FFF president does imply that something was discovered.
Not a big enough something to put the deal off completely, but perhaps enough for Liverpool to seek a lower price or to re-structure the deal with more add-ons such that a larger portion of the fee is dependant on Fekir staying fit and available for selection.
This, coincidentally, would seem to line up well with reports on Friday night that Liverpool upper management had travelled to France in an attempt to push through the deal—at a point when most had expected the deal to already be done and Fekir announced.
“It’s always like this when you talk about a transfer,” added Le Graët. “Everyone tries to raise their price, to lower their price, and when there is a small issue you want to reduce it. It’s part of the game.”