Former Liverpool target Nabil Fekir has sensationally revealed that "Jurgen Klopp told me he loved me" before the door slammed shut on a dream move to Anfield.
Following the departure of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for a staggering £142million, Fekir, 29, was viewed as the ideal replacement for the silky Brazilian after registering a staggering 31 goal contributions throughout the 2017/18 season for Lyon.
Amid interest from Juventus and Barcelona, it was a personal phone call from Klopp that persuaded the Ligue 1 star that Merseyside was the best place to further his development, slotting in behind the formidable front three of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
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"Everything was closed," Fekir told BetisTV. "I passed all the interviews, I spoke with Jurgen Klopp, he told me that he loved me. We all did it and, when we were about to sign, there were problems with my representative and the negotiation broke down."
He added: "Of course I was disappointed not to go to Liverpool, very disappointed because Liverpool are a great club. I met the coach, Jurgen Klopp, and it went well.
"After meeting him, I wanted to join Liverpool even more. He’s a good person. It was really difficult to deal with as I really wanted to go to Liverpool. It was a moment that was not easy for me."
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It wasn't a case of the Reds getting cold feet, Klopp proved he was serious about a title assault in the 2018/19 campaign and splashed the cash in the summer window. Naby Keita's club-record £48m coup from RB Leipzig lasted less than three weeks before Liverpool forked out a deal worth up to £67m for Brazilian shot-stopper Alisson, while Fabinho also joined from Monaco for a cool £42m.
Fekir is also adamant it wasn't a failed medical that prevent his dream move. "I saw plenty of things which weren’t true," he later recalled in an interview with The Times. "It was said the knee stopped me going to Liverpool but that wasn’t true.
"I went to Clairefontaine [France’s football centre near Paris], and they did all the proof [medical] and the knee was fine. I had a problem with my agent, my adviser. It was the agent responsible for the deal not going through."
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