The players who almost signed for Liverpool — and where they ended up

Liverpool have been linked with more than their fair share of players over the years, but have you ever wondered what happened to those who almost signed for the Reds before the deals fell through?

For a club with the stature of Liverpool, dozens of players get linked with a move to Merseyside every single transfer window.

While some can be ruled out as frivolous transfer gossip, it is surprising to think of just how many players were inches away from becoming a Red, only for a deal to fall through at the last hurdle.

Here are eight players who very nearly signed for Liverpool, and where they ended up instead.


READ MORE: Liverpool's best summer transfer windows — ranked

Dani Alves (2006)

Yes, you're reading that right. One of the most decorated players in football history might've played for Liverpool back in 2006, if it wasn't for a certain Dirk Kuyt.

Despite moving to Barcelona from Sevilla in 2008 and going on to win 26 trophies, it could have turned out very differently for the Brazilian, because two years prior, then-Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez had an £8m agreement to sign Alves.

However, after being told he would not have the funds available to sign both a right-back and a forward, the deal broke down as Benitez instead opted to sign Kuyt.

In all fairness, the Dutchman did go on to become a cult hero, but oh, what could have been...

Henrikh Mkhitaryan (2013)

The name that every Liverpool fan spent a week learning how to spell and pronounce, and all for nothing...

In 2013, then-manager Brendan Rodgers attempted to sign the Mkhitaryan, while he was earning his wage in Ukraine as a fairly unknown midfielder.

In fact years later, the Armenian explained how the chance to play with world-class footballers was a carrot Rodgers dangled in front of him in a bid to get him to join.

He told the Mail: "I spoke two or three times on the phone to Brendan Rodgers. He was saying he really wanted me and that I'd get to play with Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard."

After turning down the move to the Reds, Mkhitaryan instead joined up with Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund, before eventually playing for Manchester United, Arsenal and Inter among others.

Loic Remy (2014)

In 2014, seeing Loic Remy in Red appeared an absolute certainty, as Brendan Rodgers looked to replace the irreplaceable Luis Suarez.

An £8.5m bid was accepted by QPR for the Frenchman, who even went as far as to have a medical for Liverpool. However, a heart issue was discovered and led to the move collapsing.

Remy didn't go on to have a Suarez-level career by any stretch, but he did go on to sign for — and win the Premier League with – Chelsea.

Liverpool ended the 2014 transfer window having signed Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli instead. It's safe to say the Suarez replacement was not found.

Alex Texeria (2016)

The Texeria transfer saga sticks out in memory more than most because the Brazilian was set to become Klopp's first high-profile signing at Liverpool in January of 2016, before the move eventually broke down.

The boss loved the Shakhtar Donetsk star, and there was the added incentive that Texeira was a long-time childhood friend of Philippe Coutinho – who was desperate to be reunited with the forward.

However, Liverpool's transfer committee ultimately decided that a £38m fee for a 26-year-old who had never played in Europe's major leagues was bad business.

Instead, Klopp and the hierarchy opted to sign Sadio Mane the next summer and Mohamed Salah the year after.

Meanwhile Texeria soon left Ukraine for the Chinese Super League and, at the age of 33, currently plays for Vasco de Gama.

Christian Pulisic (2016)

Christian Pulisic is one name on this list that Liverpool — and more specifically, Klopp – tried multiple times to secure.

Klopp oversaw the American's breakthrough season in the Bundesliga, and has loved him ever since – trying to sign him as one of his first Liverpool signings for £11m in 2016 and again in 2019 before the winger opted to join Premier League rivals Chelsea.

In fact, links between Pulisic and Liverpool have surfaced multiple times since then, but never come to anything and it doesn't look like the winger dubbed "Captain America" will play for the Reds anytime soon.

While Liverpool's attacking options are plentiful, Pulisic has been shipped off to AC Milan in a mass exodus from Chelsea, after only picking up 31 goal contributions in 98 league games for the club.

Thomas Lemar (2017)

Liverpool notoriously like to get they business done as early as possible in the transfer market, and the summer of 2017 was no different, with the club agreeing prompt deals for Salah, Andy Robertson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

However, they were also uncharacteristically involved in a deadline day transfer saga for Thomas Lemar.

After originally bidding £55m and £64m respectively for the French midfielder, Monaco quoted a final price of £90m – a staggering amount of money, and one Liverpool were absolutely correct to walk away from.

The decision was justified further when, just a year later, Lemar finally did leave Ligue 1 in a £52m deal to Atletico Madrid, where he remains to this day.

Nabil Fekir (2018)

Without doubt the closest a player has ever been to playing for Liverpool, without actually playing for the club. Fekir had even conducted a welcome interview and posed in his new Reds shirt, before the move was eventually abandoned for medical reasons.

In 2018, fans were ecstatic to hear that the Frenchman would be their new midfield recruit. Liverpool had agreed a fee north of £50m with Lyon, a five-year contract was agreed with the player and a medical was even completed.

However, due a knee injury the midfielder once suffered, Liverpool chiefs decided to pull the plug on the deal at the very last hurdle as they feared the player was likely to rupture his right ACL again as a result.

Fekir then decided to stay at Lyon for a few years, before joining La Liga's Real Betis in 2021, where he remains to this day.

Timo Werner (2020)

Missing out on Timo Werner was another move that left fans disgruntled at the time.

After a stellar season with RB Leipzig, the striker looked destined to join his fellow German Jurgen Klopp in Merseyside, but for whatever reason (almost certainly due to financials), Werner joined Chelsea ahead of the 2020/21 season.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but again, Liverpool's decision paid off ten fold, as Werner went on to have a couple of underwhelming seasons in England before being sold back to the Bundesliga, while Liverpool signed Diogo Jota from Wolves, who has gone on to become one of the most clinical forwards the league has to offer.

Jude Bellingham (2023)

The campaign to get Bellingham to Liverpool was a long one, with the likes of Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold employed to sweet talk the Dortmund star while on international duty.

For a long time, the Reds looked well-placed to land one of the most coveted midfielders of his generation, but a combination of factors including Liverpool's dreadful 2022/23 season, a need to spread their money across multiple signings instead of just one and the allure of Real Madrid saw the Reds pull out of the race.

Instead, the England international joined Los Blancos for a fee that could increase to €133m, while Liverpool have landed both Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai.

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