Exclusive: Graeme Bailey on why Liverpool signed a midfielder so late on in the window

Just why did Liverpool leave it so late to sign a midfielder? That is a question many in the footballing world were asking themselves as they swooped to sign Arthur Melo.

With a week to go in the transfer window I reported that Liverpool were doing their due diligence on a number of players after Jurgen Klopp sanctioned the search.

And that is why...having seen Liverpool struggle in the opening games of the season, Klopp was won over by his staff that he did need another body, but only the right one.

At this point, Liverpool were not even convinced that there was an appropriate player for them to possibly sign.

I revealed that two of the players their scouts liked were Konrad Laimer and Ruben Neves.

Austrian ace Laimer was a player who Manchester United have liked for a long time, and he was the subject of bids from Bayern Munich this summer – which only highlights just how good a player he is.

I can confirm one reason why Liverpool did not pursue Laimer is the belief that the player fully intends on moving to Bayern, and he can do so next summer on a free transfer as he is out of contract.

Neves was also put to Liverpool and whilst they like him, they clearly wanted more of a creator on that front and they were also not looking to pay a huge fee.

That meant it was almost certainly a loan player and a number of options were put to the Reds and I understand that they spoke to up to four different clubs about targets.

After doing their homework including speaking to some their own squad members – they opted for Arthur, international colleague of the likes of Allison, Fabinho and Thiago.

So why Arthur? I am told that he is a player that Klopp knew well as he actually had an interest in taking him to Anfield before. This was in 2018 as Arthur left Gremio for Europe – with Barcelona winning the race for his coveted signature, and Liverpool were keen.

Since he moved to Barcelona, Arthur has endured a troubled time – which was surprising after he started very well. A move-swap to Juventus failed to kick-start his career but Liverpool are clear in their belief they can put it right or at the very least get him back on track.

Despite Liverpool’s own struggles, they think that Arthur could and does have something to offer them this season.

It remains to be seen if that is the case, and whether Arthur is the right player.

If Arthur is not the man, could we see a January move? Never say never – someone like Douglas Luiz, who Liverpool have done their work on also, could be an option in that regard. But the question is, are they waiting for Jude Bellingham? We won’t know the answer to that for a few months at least.

But what is for sure having been close to landing Aurelien Tchouameni at the start of the summer but finishing it with Arthur – it's safe to say it's not how Liverpool or their fans perceived their midfield search going this summer.

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