Jean-Michal Aulas has revealed he had paved the way for Nabil Fekir to join Liverpool prior to the collapse of his move.
Fekir looked set to sign for the Reds after personal terms and a £53million fee were agreed in what proved to be a fast-moving deal.
An image was even leaked of the Frenchman conducting interviews with LFCTV ahead of his expected unveiling as Liverpool’s latest signing.
Efforts to finalise the switch hit a stumbling block late on when concerns were allegedly raised over an underlying knee injury detected in his medical.
The setback had been tipped as a mere delay in his announcement, until Lyon released an official statement claiming negotiations had ended.
There have since been suggestions of Liverpool reviving the move after the World Cup, although they could face new competition in the form of Real Madrid.
Aulas told RT France: “Yeah, listen, at that stage it was foreseen he would go to Liverpool, I had given it the green light to go ahead. but it just took too long, things were just too drawn out.”
“He is an exceptional player, he keeps the ball in little space and has an incredible talent.”
“The fact that things didn’t conclude with Liverpool and it didn’t happen in that timeframe has peaked the interest of a lot of other clubs – Real Madrid, but not just Real Madrid and their new trainer.”
Fekir still has his heart set on a move to Anfield and recently quashed fears over the fitness issues that reportedly led Liverpool to try and restructure their fee for him.
The playmaker suffered a cruciate ligament injury that saw him miss the majority of the 2015/2016 season, but has since been a prominent figure in Lyon’s starting lineup.
His talismanic role was reflected by his 23 goals and eight assists in 43 games across all competitions on route to Lyon securing Champions League qualification on the final day of last season.
Both Real Madrid and Chelsea have seemingly been alerted to Fekir’s potential availability in light of Liverpool’s step back.