Real Betis midfielder Nabil Fekir opens up about failed Liverpool switch; says agent is to blame
Nabil Fekir rejects claims that knee kept him from Liverpool move; blames agent
“It was a dark moment. I saw plenty of things which weren’t true. It was said the knee stopped me going to Liverpool but that wasn’t true. I went to Clairefontaine [France’s football centre near Paris], and they did all the proof [medical] and the knee was fine.
I had a problem with my agent, my adviser. It was the agent responsible for the deal not going through. Of course I was disappointed not to go to Liverpool, very disappointed because Liverpool are a great club.” [quotes from The Times via Liverpool Echo]
NEW: ‘It was a dark moment’ – Nabil Fekir lifts lid on failed Liverpool transfer and says agent is responsible 🔴 #LFC https://t.co/jtcupVIdLU
— Liverpool FC News (@LivEchoLFC) September 3, 2021
Three years after a dream move to Liverpool broke down, Real Betis’ French international midfielder Nabil Fekir has opened up about the true circumstances behind his failed move from hometown club Olympique Lyonnais to Liverpool in the summer before the 2018-19 campaign, citing that his agent – not his knee – was the root-cause of his missed opportunity.
Fekir, a favorite son of Lyon, built quite the reputation for himself in France after graduating from Les Gones’ academy in 2013-14, and he would go on to register 69-goals and 46-assists in 193-appearances, good enough for a ~.60 combined goal contributions/match across his career in France.
Though it is true that Fekir had suffered at the hands of the injury bug while at Lyon, particularly a rupture to his cruciate ligament in 2015-16 that saw him miss a total of 39-matches before a return to full fitness, his rejection of the notion that his knee kept him from securing a big move to Anfield is telling.
The one that got away for Liverpool
In a summer that saw major recruit for Liverpool back in 2018, the Reds were all but assured of securing Fekir after completing moves for Fabinho from AS Monaco and the long-awaited move for RB Leipzig’s Naby Keita.
Fekir was viewed as the heir-apparent to Coutinho, who had left in January of the same year for his big-money move to Barcelona, with the Frenchman viewed as the ideal candidate to replace him and allow for tactical continuity in the first-team set up under Jürgen Klopp.
But unfortunately for Fekir and Liverpool, the move was not to be, and the player would leave for La Liga outfit Real Betis the following summer while never hitting the same heights (at least statistically) that saw him flood the collective football consciousness across Europe.
2021-2022 🇪🇸 La Liga Shot-Creating Actions Leaders
Nabil Fekir (18)
Marcos Acuña (14)
Thomas Lemar (12)
Karim Benzema (12)
Takefusa Kubo (11)
Nemanja Maksimović (11)
Memphis Depay (11)
— ⚽️FBref.com⚽️ (@fbref) September 2, 2021
Despite his relative fall from grace, English eyes still keep tabs on the France product, with Fekir being linked with rumored interest from Arsenal this summer. Now 28, and in the prime of his career, there is still time for Nabil Fekir to play for one of Europe’s elite and rebuild a profile that was once the most sought after across the continent.