Following reports Liverpool had agreed a deal to sign Lyon’s Nabil Fekir, Sadio Mane relished the possibility of linking up with the Frenchman.
French outlets Canal+ and RMC Sport both claimed the Reds were set to pay £62 million for the attacking midfielder, though Goal’s Neil Jones moved to dampen speculation soon after.
Jurgen Klopp expressed surprised when asked about interest in both Fekir and Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele after Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to Chelsea, saying “I never comment on the rumours.”
But given the conviction of the sources in Fekir’s native France, there remains a kernel of hope regarding a possible move for the 24-year-old.
The prospect of Fekir joining Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino in a fluid attacking unit at Anfield is hugely attractive, and speaking to SFR Sport at Stamford Bridge the No. 19 agreed.
“Nabil is a very great player, if that’s the case, we will be really happy to have him here,” he said when told of the rumours.
“I think he would do very good things with us. We always need this kind of player, if we have him it’ll be fire!”
This is clearly no indication that Fekir is set to join the Reds, but Mane’s ringing endorsement will only heighten anticipation.
Slotting Fekir into a starting lineup that also includes Mane, Salah, Firmino and the incoming Naby Keita may require a tactical shift from Klopp, with the Lyon captain best as a No. 10.
He could operate in the most advanced role in Liverpool’s three-man midfield, with Keita fielded alongside him and a deep-lying midfielder behind them.
Fekir’s creativity, and his comfort in possession, could allow him to feed the likes of Mane and Salah in Klopp’s lightning-fast counter-attacking system, while his overlapping runs would provide another outlet in the final third.
At £62 million, he would be the Reds’ second-biggest signing in history, behind only Virgil van Dijk, which would underline Klopp’s faith in the attacking midfielder.
But with Liverpool yet to spend any of the £142 million received on Philippe Coutinho‘s move to Barcelona in January they can certainly afford a major outlay this summer.