A saga quickly turned into a circus on Saturday as Lyon released an official statement saying all negotiations with Liverpool were off, and Nabil Fekir was staying in France. Mass confusion and speculation followed over the weekend with multiple theories emerging about what had happened between Thursday evening and Friday afternoon.
In the age of social media where updates are available by the minute, the narrative is already getting tedious. Wading through the theories and available confirmed information, it appears Liverpool were troubled by Fekir’s medical. His knee ligaments have already been vulnerable and there must have been sufficient concerns for the club to pull the plug.
If this is the case or near enough, then the club’s medical team must be backed. There is already a lot of complaining amongst certain sections of the fan base about the club’s so called tight fisted approach to transfers. It is a bitter pill to take with the transfer so advanced and the player so talented, but the club must move on and swiftly.
No room for passengers
Liverpool need depth and plenty of it. However, this does not mean that they need to sign anyone to fill the ranks who has a glowing scouting report. Klopp’s profile of player is very particular. His approach is demanding and there is no room for passengers. Signing a player with bad knees who may not be able to make it through a full campaign is not the answer to the club’s problems.
Anyone need look at the pile up of injuries towards the end of the last campaign to see that they already have plenty of concerns in the current squad. The Oxlade-Chamberlain knee injury is a real worry, and the hope is it hasn’t taken too much out of his game. Surely another player with such an injury history would serve only to exacerbate the current issue?
Some have pointed to Fekir’s inclusion in the French National Team as conclusive proof of his match fitness and ability to play for the club. However, if it was flagged on his medical that his knees were bad then this opinion lacks foresight. Yes, he is in the French team, but this is a four-week tournament – seven games, of which most will be played at a fraction the intensity of the Premier League. It does not mean he will bear up for a forty-five to sixty game campaign in the rigours of Klopp’s press. It also doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have a long standing problem which may well require surgery at some point in the future.
The club has the money, but for such an investment, they are right to be prudent. Other clubs may have more recourses and therefore more inclination to the take a risk. But if Liverpool make the gamble, and a sixty-million-pound signing struggles with his knees, then they cannot right it off and move on to the next big money signing as easily as other clubs.
On to the next one
Fekir is a quality player and would have been a nice fit into Klopp’s system. However, Klopp showed, after Coutinho’s move to Barcelona in January, that his side is not over dependent on one man or one position. In fact, his entire ethos is focused around a group collective; he is not desperate for that one signing to complete the picture.
The squad needs depth and more options yes, but no doubt he they will have plenty of other targets options to go off. The money is there, and the club is in a very attractive position to young talent, perhaps more so than it has been in the past two and a half decades.
The storm will likely blow over and another name will be linked or signed. There is plenty of time and money, the club are unlikely to panic as they did when the Remy transfer fell through in 2014. Unfortunately, the only thing that will remain unchanged is the intense social media pressure and panic from certain sections of the fans.