Atletico Madrid players offer alternative transfer realities for Liverpool

Liverpool will be among the gloriously familiar surroundings when they hit the Wanda Metropolitano on Tuesday evening.

But a look at the opposition will give them insight into what could have easily been in Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp and the Reds recruiting team built a team now in just five wins adding the Premier League to the European and world crowns they claimed last year.

No transfer, however, is never a certainty until the player signs on the dotted line.

And Atletico Madrid, against whom Liverpool continues its defense in the Champions League in its round of round of 32 in the Spanish capital, has three players who, for various reasons, have failed to move to Merseyside.

The most important – and undoubtedly a case of near lack for the Reds, given how things subsequently emerged – is Thomas Lemar.

Liverpool failed in an attempt to sign Lemar from Monaco in August 2017 after sporting director Michael Edwards held talks with the French team, but was unable to agree on an agreement.

After the late interest of Arsenal, the asking price skyrocketed and eventually stood still, despite Liverpool having a medical team waiting for a medical deadline.

Fast forward of 12 months and Lemar’s actions had slightly decreased, Liverpool cooled their interest and the player subsequently joined Atletico.

French midfielder Atletico Madrid Thomas Lemar kicks the ball during the soccer match of the Spanish league Real Betis against Club Atletico de Madrid at the Benito Villamarin stadium in Seville on December 22, 2019.

It was not a success. The French international has only scored three goals in 43 appearances last season and has not drawn or assisted in 23 games in this campaign.

In fact, his latest goal came 10 months ago, with Lemar probably on the bench at best when the Reds visit him.

One player who would be more than happy to be among the substitutes is Diego Costa, the striker who trained with the Atletico first team this week having been absent since November with a herniated disc.

In the summer of 2013, Liverpool, under the encouragement of coach Brendan Rodgers, made an offer to trigger the striker’s £ 21.8 million release clause from Atletico.

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Costa, however, used that interest as a bargaining tool to negotiate a better contract with the Spaniards, even though he joined Chelsea the following year before finally returning to Atletico.

Another name on the Rossi list was Jan Oblak, the Slovak among those considered 18 months ago when Klopp decided to overhaul the goalkeepers department.

Liverpool has been delayed by the prohibitive purchase of 100 million euros. Instead, for 27.5 million euros less, they snatched Alisson Becker from Rome, a decision that paid off handsomely with the Brazilian full-face in the victory of the Champions League final in Madrid over Tottenham Hotspur last June.

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Liverpool FC news to read

Lemar, Costa and Oblak may exit Anfield in the second leg on 11 March.

However, he won’t be in a Liverpool shirt. How a different life could have happened for the Reds if their controversial transfers became reality.


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