Liverpool fans spent the year following the collapse of the Nabil Fekir deal believing a questionable injury history and something turned up late in the medical after a fee had been agreed with Lyon was what undid a seemingly done deal.
Since the dynamic French attacker completed his move to Real Betis last summer, though, a different story has begun to emerge. First, his former agent hinted at the real reason for the breakdown not being Fekir’s knee but, well, Fekir.
Now, one of Liverpool’s most reliable club-connected appears to have corroborated that while speaking to Sky, with The Mirror’s David Maddock saying the club were willing to overlook any issues with the player’s knee to get a deal over the line.
The problem instead was Fekir involving other people late in the deal late, making new demands, and in the end leading to manager Jürgen Klopp making the call to abandon the deal after Fekir’s unveiling had been prepared for.
“In the end the reason they didn’t sign him was not because of the injury,” Maddock told Sky. “He did have an injury, but there were other problems. He got his brother involved, began demanding more money, wouldn’t speak to the Liverpool people.
“Klopp was like, ‘we can’t have that personality in our squad.’ He picks the right personalities who respond to his energy and his man management. You can see it. They believe. Virgil van Dijk says often ‘this is special.’ Klopp is responsible for that.”
The knee, then, was an issue. But it wasn’t the issue that prevented the Fekir deal getting over the line. In fact, in line with how it appeared to fans at the time, it seems as though the deal very much was over the line. Then it collapsed.
And it collapsed because Jürgen Klopp decided, based on Fekir’s behaviour at the end, that the player would be a poor fit for the side he was trying to build—a squad that required full buy-in from every player joining it.