Watford's Ismaila Sarr during the match (Nigel French/EMPICS Sport)

Liverpool ‘agreed deal’ for Ismaila Sarr in January, player’s agent claims

The Reds were mostly focused on trying to land centre-backs in January, but a new report suggests the Reds tried to add attacking talent to the squad, too.

Liverpool were reported as interested in Ismaila Sarr last year, dating back almost to this precise point in 2020 in fact, after the Watford winger was instrumental in ending our incredible unbeaten start to the Premier League season.

A couple of months later they were relegated, the Reds were champions and he was one of the names on radar as a potential addition to Jurgen Klopp‘s squad, where an extra forward was badly needed.

Ultimately, Michael Edwards and Co. opted for Diogo Jota as our attacking signing for around £40 million, while Sarr remained with the Hornets in the Championship.

But he also remained on our wish list, with Sarr’s agent now claiming that we agreed a deal to sign him in the January transfer window – only for it to fall through late on due to the finances involved.

“With Liverpool, a few days ago, we were at the stage of signing the contract to bind the Reds to Ismaîla Sarr,” Thierno Seydi told PanAfricanFootball.com.

WATFORD, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 29, 2020: Watford's Ismaïla Sarr during the FA Premier League match between Watford FC and Liverpool FC at Vicarage Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Everything was set, the monthly salary and the length of the lease. I even asked Sadio Mane to find him an apartment.

“But in the end, the English club could not put €40 million on the table to finalise this case.

“You have to say that if English clubs that once animated the transfer window are struggling to put funds together, that shows the depth of the crisis affecting football.”

There are obvious questions to ask here, as it can’t be as straightforward as the Reds suddenly realising they were short of cash.

It could easily be a vested interest of the agent to somewhat overstate the level of negotiations, in the hopes of speeding up a deal for his client over a summer move, for example.

Or it might be that the Reds had wanted to offload a player first – Divock Origi was regularly rumoured to be up for sale and wanted by teams such as Eintracht Frankfurt, Wolves and Inter Milan – before committing to a signing in the same area of the pitch.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 24, 2021: Liverpool's substitute Divock Origi during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Cup 4th Round match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Alternatively, the Reds might have hoped to close this deal earlier in January, but after Joel Matip‘s season-ending injury realised they had to shift their focus towards getting Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies in, which didn’t leave enough guaranteed funds open to sign all three between now and summer.

In any case, Sarr has remained at Watford once more, where he has five goals in the Championship this season from 24 appearances.

They are fourth in the table, so still in with a decent chance of promotion at least through the play-offs, after replacing Vladimir Ivic with Xisco Munoz as head coach in December.

Sarr still has another three years left on his contract to run, so there’s no great reason to expect a reduction in valuation if we follow up our interest with a summer transfer bid – unless his team fail to earn promotion, perhaps, and are suffering similar financial issues to many other clubs.