Tuesday 21 August 2018

Liverpool medical staff on alert to travel to France to get Nabil Fekir £52m deal done before World Cup

Nabil Fekir
Nabil Fekir

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool are close to securing French midfielder Nabil Fekir in a £52 million transfer from Lyon.

Anfield officials will continue negotiations on Friday, increasingly hopeful of a deal before the 24-year-old heads for World Cup duty.

Liverpool hope that a bid of £48 million, plus £4 million in add-ons, will be enough to secure the playmaker’s signature before France’s final warm-up fixture against USA on Saturday The club’s medical staff are on alert, ready to travel to Paris to complete the formalities on Friday if given the green light.

Jean-Michel Aulas, the Lyon president, offered little encouragement when speaking on Thursday. “The deal is at a standstill. Nothing has happened,” he said. “The whole thing will certainly not be completed during the World Cup, and I don’t think anything will change before it. We haven’t set a starting price because we haven’t discussed that yet.”

However, there was movement on Merseyside after those comments. Fekir is the player Liverpool want to fill the No 10 role left vacant by Philippe Coutinho’s January move to Barcelona. He can play in the front three or deeper in the middle of the pitch. With Brazilian Fabinho already signed to replace Emre Can, Fekir’s arrival would  complete the bulk of Jurgen Klopp’s incoming transfer activity.

He would still like a goalkeeper but the extravagant price for Roma’s Alisson does not make it a certainty Klopp will get his prime target in this window. Liverpool’s manager may be more eager to allow Loris Karius to rehabilitate than many imagine, and there will be an opportunity for Danny Ward to push his first-team claims when he returns to pre-season training.

Klopp has consistently demonstrated that if he cannot strike the right deal for the player he wants he will wait, regardless of the clamour from outside to fill a position.

Although he is also monitoring Xherdan Shaqiri’s situation at Stoke, Klopp wants to give Welsh youngster Harry Wilson the incentive to push for a first-team place. Swiss winger Shaqiri is of interest but not a priority at the moment.

Online Editors

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