Aurelien Tchouameni, a high-profile transfer target for Liverpool in the summer, has explained why he turned them down in favour of Real Madrid.
This season has brought understandable criticism over the club’s failure to sign a midfielder, with a shortage of quality in the middle of the park.
But it wasn’t as though Liverpool didn’t try.
With Tchouameni, the 22-year-old France international, deciding on a move away from Monaco, recruitment staff identified him as the perfect candidate.
Reports in both England and France corroborated the Reds’ interest, but ultimately, the player opted to join Real Madrid in a deal worth around £85 million.
Replacing Casemiro at the Bernabeu, Tchouameni has been in excellent form so far this season, which only magnifies the disappointment that he turned down a switch to Merseyside.
Speaking to Le Parisien this week, the midfielder revealed Liverpool were his “first” offer, but “everything was clear” when Real emerged as an option.
“The first to come forward was Liverpool, we had discussions. Then Real arrived,” Tchouameni explained.
“And in my head everything was clear. It was Real and not another.
“It’s the biggest club in the world. If you want to accomplish great things, to mark the history of your sport, there is no better.
“So I didn’t hesitate for a second. I told my agent: as long as there is interest, we do everything to go there.
“I was already convinced. When Paris showed up, my choice was already made, even if I was happy to be approached by PSG.”
Though it is now academic, with Tchouameni a Real player and Liverpool left to move on, it is interesting to hear him speak about discussions with the club.
It shows their desire to bring in a midfielder in the summer, but also their resolve to only do business for the right player.
Whether a ‘Tchouameni or nothing’ approach was realistic is another matter entirely, though much will depend on their chances of signing Jude Bellingham in 2023.
Unfortunately, Tchouameni’s comments on Real being “the biggest club in the world” highlight the difficulty Liverpool and their peers still face in convincing certain players to join them over the Spanish elite.