Borussia Dortmund winger Ousmane Dembele has revealed he could have joined Liverpool last summer, but turned down Jurgen Klopp‘s advances.
Dembele left Rennes for Dortmund in May, and has quickly settled in at the Westfalenstadion, scoring six and assisting 14 in 32 appearances in all competitions.
Operating across the forward line for the Bundesliga side, Dembele would have been an excellent addition to Klopp’s squad, and the manager clearly felt that way in the summer.
The 49-year-old played a key role in trying to tempt Dembele to Anfield, but as the winger told FourFourTwo, he had already decided against it.
“I saw Klopp in Paris,” he recalled, “but I told him I’d made up my mind to sign for BVB.”
This is a disappointing revelation for supporters, given Dembele’s form for Dortmund this season, his long-term potential and Liverpool’s need for reinforcements out wide.
The absence of Sadio Mane for much of January prompted a downturn in fortunes for the Reds, and Klopp desperately needed cover for the Senegalese.
Dembele would have been able to provide that, and Liverpool may well have still been in the title race had he opted to move to Merseyside rather than Klopp’s former home.
After his disappointment in pursuing Dembele, Klopp turned his attention to another Dortmund player in Christian Pulisic, making an £11 million bid for the USMNT international in August.
But his old side rejected the offer out of hand, and Pulisic has since signed a new, long-term contract with Dortmund.
Pulisic has also spoken out about a potential move to Liverpool, but committed his future to his current club, saying he had no intention of leaving.
“I have respect for Klopp and I know him—he was very welcoming to me here—but I was never really thinking about going to Liverpool,” he explained.
“Dortmund have given me everything. If I work very hard here I will play and I love this club.”
Klopp is now looking ahead to further targets in the summer, with Bayer Leverkusen’s Julian Brandt his priority target out wide.