Thursday 17 January 2019

The 'transfer fee change', the 'passed medical' and why Nabil Fekir's move to Liverpool might still happen

Nabir Fekir came close to joining Liverpool in June
Nabir Fekir came close to joining Liverpool in June

Jack de Menezes

Lyon have announced that they have ended transfer negotiations with Liverpool over a £60m move for midfielder Nabil Fekir, ending any possibility of him leaving the French club before the 2018 World Cup.

A statement issued by the Ligue 1 club on Saturday evening confirmed that talks with the Champions League finalists took place, with Liverpool understood to have agreed a £60m fee for the 24-year-old.

However, after undergoing a medical on Friday – something that was confirmed by French FA president Noel Le Graet on Saturday – reports in France claim that Liverpool attempted to lower the negotiated transfer fee, leading to Lyon pulling the plug completely on the deal.

The statement read: "Olympique Lyonnais confirms that the tri-party negotiations with Liverpool and Nabil Fekir for the transfer of the Lyon captain have not succeeded and that Olympique Lyonnais have decided to put an end to these negotiations at 20:00 [CET] on Saturday night.

"Although Liverpool have been the priority of a possible transfer of Nabil, and subject to other proposals consistent with the interest of Nabil and Olympique Lyonnais and from ambitious clubs, Olympique Lyonnais is delighted to be able to count on the presence of our captain, who is a leading player for the 2018/19 season when the club will play in the Champions League."

Liverpool were keen on signing Fekir as a replacement for Philippe Coutinho, who left the club last January to join Barcelona in a £142m deal.

There were doubts as to whether the playmaker would pass a medical with the Premier League side due to a knee injury. However, that is now irrelevant, with Lyon calling the deal off.

France Football Association president Noel Le Graet had suggested the move was almost completed - according to reports in France - before Lyon's announcement as he spoke to the player on Saturday morning, where Fekir is claimed to have told him he passed the medical. It is not yet known whether the results of the medical had an impact on the talks breaking down.

"He's in the middle of negotiations and I think it's done," Le Graet said. "I spent 15 minutes with him this morning [Saturday], and he's worried by the France team. He's in good spirits.

"He passed his medical in Clairefontaine. That's logical, we've done it for other players. He was looking forward to it because the visit he had was positive."

Fekir will now be able to focus on France's World Cup campaign, where he faces a battle to get into what is a midfield packed with talented options such as Paul Pogba, Corentin Tolisso and N'Golo Kante. But it is not completely out of the question for Liverpool to resume their pursuit after the tournament, with Premier League clubs able to sign new players up to the 10th August deadline, a day before the new season begins.

Independent News Service

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