Lyon’s president was at hand to deal a late blow as Liverpool’s £53million deal for Nabil Fekir collapsed on Saturday night.
Jean-Michel Aulas has lived up to his reputation as a tricky negotiator throughout the transfer saga, standing firm in his efforts to delay any potential deal.
Fekir had looked set to be unveiled as a Red on Friday following an agreement of personal terms and fee, reportedly going as far as selecting his shirt number.
The deal subsequently stalled due to worries over an underlying knee issue dating back to his spell on the sidelines with a ruptured cruciate ligament in 2015.
Liverpool’s failed efforts to renegotiate the deal in light of such concerns resulted in the club withdrawing from talks, much to Aulas’ delight.
Responding to Lyon’s official statement, he said: “We love you Nabil go France go the OL.”
— Jean-Michel AULAS (@JM_Aulas) June 9, 2018
Aulas’ preference had always been to block any possible move for Fekir until after the World Cup, hinting at a glimmer of hope that negotiations can still be revived.
It also seems difficult to believe the deal is entirely dead and buried given how far Fekir himself went in the process of joining.
Not only did he allegedly pick out his shirt, but he also appeared to take part in an interview with LFCTV as any signing would.