Certain corners of the Liverpool fanbase will inevitably be left shaking their heads when hearing how close Jeremy Doku was to pulling on the famous red shirt at Anfield.
In an interview relayed by football.london, the Belgian shared memories of his tour at Anfield at 16 – even being gifted a ‘signed Salah shirt’ – a tour that had seemed destined to inspire a switch to Merseyside.
It wasn’t to be, as Sadio Mane supplied some sage advice that ensured the player would remain in the Belgian top-flight to further hone his craft.
“My 16th birthday was coming up, the age you can sign a pro contract,” said Doku. “A lot of teams came to see me – Liverpool was the most concrete interest but there was also Arsenal and Chelsea,” the forward said.
“I went with my mum and dad, and we were given a tour of the stadium, the training ground, even the school I would go to. They gave me a signed Salah shirt, and I met the players.
“I was able to discuss with Jurgen, Gerrard too, we looked at some video moments, and he spoke about the development. We met players, (Simon) Mignolet because he was Belgian, Wijnaldum from Netherlands. I talked a lot with Mane but we didn’t really talk about football. We talked about everything.
“He told me that I was young, that I still had time… he wasn’t trying to convince me or to say to me ‘come here, you will succeed’. So I preferred to be careful.
“I knew what my trajectory had to be. I knew what route I needed to take and I knew at that moment I needed to stay at Anderlecht.”
Getting mad about another impending Manchester City transfer (according to a post on X from Sacha Tavolieri), at a time when the Sky Blues seem to be specifically targeting players Liverpool have held a historical interest in is a little pointless of course – especially when considering the type of player being acquired.
✅🇧🇪 DONE DEAL.
⚪️🔵 Jeremy Doku signed his 5-years contract this afternoon with #MCFC after completing his medical tests successfully in the morning.
💰 Stade Rennais will get 65M€ as transfer fee. NO add-ons. NO sell-on clause. #ManCity will pay #SRFC in multiple… pic.twitter.com/IdnRUJf6r7
— Sacha Tavolieri (@sachatavolieri) August 23, 2023
In a year’s time, we could have a need for a right-sided winger, of course, should speculation around Saudi interest in Mo Salah come to a head the following summer.
Whether that eventuality will actually be fulfilled nonetheless remains to be seen, and Liverpool have more pressing issues – namely, the signing of a fourth, versatile midfielder to help the department cope with the demands of the 2023/24 campaign.
It’s perhaps gone slightly under the radar too that we could do with a couple of reinforcements in the backline in the altogether far-from-unlikely event that one of Virgil van Dijk or Ibrahima Konate gets injured.
The drop-off from either individual is mind-boggling, never mind trusting one of Joe Gomez or Joel Matip to effectively carry out the work of two players as the Frenchman currently does when Trent Alexander-Arnold goes marauding up the pitch.
There’s still time left to tick those boxes, or at least two out of three with the signing of the mystical ‘multi-functional’ midfield operator and a left-side centre-half.
Where the need has been obvious before, our patience has been rewarded – let’s hope to see the same again this time around.