Back in January 2018, Jürgen Klopp apparently made a personal call to try and sign Ivory Coast defender Jean-Philippe Gbamin from his old club Mainz, according to Fussball Transfers via the Daily Star.
Why is this interesting, you ask? Well, back then the German was on the hunt for defensive-minded and midfield recruits, and, because it didn’t work, we went and got Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho instead!
Bernard Collignon – Gbamin’s agent – has alleged that Klopp called up his old Bundesliga employers to try and get a deal done.
“In January 2018 Klopp called Mainz and wanted to commit him as a centre-back, who also helps out in midfield,” Collignon has revealed.
“But Mainz did not want to let him go in the middle of the relegation battle. In the summer, Liverpool signed on to Fabinho.”
“I had meetings with Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal, Everton and many other clubs. He is in the shortlist. However, not as a top candidate, because its exact position is unclear.
“In my opinion he is a player worth 60 million euros. It’s time for him to play as a centre-back. There he would be a top player in all four major leagues and would make a great career.”
Tremendous work from the Allgemeine Zeitung in Mainz – Jovic, Havertz, Sancho + Mainz’s Jean-Philippe Gbamin all valued.
Value Gbamin €30 million lower and alongside vaguely serious shots of the others, have a picture of him wolfing down a bratwurst. pic.twitter.com/V6cUs1oi3b
— Archie Rhind-Tutt (@archiert1) February 23, 2019
It’s clear most Reds are more than happy we secured the deal for Fabinho instead, whose £39 million summer arrival shortly after Kiev has ended up being an absolute revelation.
At the same time as this apparent Gbamin phonecall was being made, the Reds finally added Van Dijk to their ranks for a record-breaking £75 million – one of the greatest additions in club history.
Gbamin has made over 84 league appearances within Mainz since arriving in the Bundesliga in 2016.
Now, if any of those listed Premier League sides wanted to retry hammering out a deal for the 23-year-old centre-back/midfielder they might have to meet Collignon’s new evaluation of €60m (£54m).