Five players Liverpool came close to signing – but didn’t get over the line

Liverpool managed to get two late deals over the line before the January transfer window drew to a close last week.

With just hours remaining on deadline day, the Premier League champions added defenders Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak to their ranks after losing Joel Matip to injury for the rest of the season.

Reports suggest they initially had their eyes on Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti and Marseille’s Duje Caleta-Car, nevertheless, before turning their attention to Davies and Kabak when moves for both men proved unsuccessful.

Yet if those rumours are indeed accurate, it certainly wasn’t the first time they’ve missed out on top targets.

Daily Star Sport have taken a look back at the best players Liverpool came close to signing over the years, only to lose out in the end.

Dani Alves

After offloading Josemi to Villarreal the previous January, Liverpool were considering replacing him with a 23-year-old Alves in the summer of 2006.

The right-back was said to be available for around £8million – an absolute steal in hindsight – having recently played a part in Sevilla’s 4-0 UEFA Cup final thrashing of Middlesbrough.

The Spanish club were prepared to sell him to Liverpool, yet then-Reds manager Rafa Benitez was not willing to meet their asking price and the proposed move broke down.

Of course, Benitez’s alleged snub would eventually prove a major blunder, as Alves went on to rack up close to win six Spanish titles and three Champions Leagues with Barcelona.

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  • Teddy Sheringham

    Sheringham had already established himself as a household name in English football by the time Liverpool came close to signing him in 1995.

    The England striker, then 29, had just scored 18 goals in 42 Premier League appearances for Tottenham, meaning Roy Evans was keen to bring him to Anfield as a perfect mentor for up-and-coming frontman Robbie Fowler.

    He initially seemed open to the move, but Evans revealed to The Anfield Wrap in 2011 that Liverpool’s transfer policy prevented him from signing players over the age of 28.

    Sheringham, who went on to play until he was 42 years old, joined arch-rials Manchester United two years later and played a crucial part in their 1998/99 treble-winning campaign.

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    Cristiano Ronaldo

    Without a doubt their most gut-wrenching transfer failure ever, the Reds only missed out on… erm… one of the greatest players in football history when they failed to sign Ronaldo back in 2003.

    Assistant manager Phil Thompson was invited to watch him in his early days at Sporting Lisbon, where he had become a first-team regular at the age of 18.

    He was seemingly keen to join Liverpool, and a £4million valuation was well within their reach, yet his agent’s demand for a salary worth £1million after tax was a slight problem.

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    And while they tried to find a compromise, United swooped in to steal Ronaldo from under their noses.

    Thompson recalled: “I was sitting in a lounge at Anfield having some lunch and looking at the big TV screen. Up came the news that Manchester United had signed Ronaldo from Lisbon for £12.2million. Gerard [Houlier] and myself nearly choked on our food.”

    In the end, United flogged Ronaldo to Real Madrid for a then-world-record £80million…

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    Gareth Barry

    Admittedly, Anfield chiefs won’t be losing as much sleep over this one compared to CR7, but Barry was widely considered one of the most talented midfielders in England when Liverpool first explored the idea of signing him in 2008.

    With Xabi Alonso struggling for consistent fitness on Merseyside, Benitez identified the Aston Villa star as an ideal recruit in the middle of the park.

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    At one point it seemed Barry’s potential switch was a done deal, especially when Villa fined him two weeks’ wages for giving a want-away interview, yet Liverpool could not afford to meet the Midlands club’s valuation and his dream transfer went begging.

    He tried to sign the player again the following summer, only to eventually settle for Albert Riera, and Barry shortly secured a move to Manchester City – where he clinched the Premier League title in 2012.

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    Dele Alli

    In the summer of 2015, Alli was one of the hottest prospects in English football after a sensational breakthrough season at MK Dons which saw him bag 16 goals in 39 League One matches.

    Reds gaffer Brendan Rodgers was reportedly monitoring the attacking midfielder, who was rightfully being touted as a future England star at the time.

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    Yet despite what Rodgers saw in him, Liverpool bigwigs decided Alli wasn’t deserving of the £4,000-a-week wages he was demanding at the time and let him slip through the net.

    He went on to join Tottenham that very summer, scoring 46 goals in his first three seasons at the club and later reaching the Champions League final.

    READ MORE: Jamie Carragher hopes Liverpool may already have one of three signings needed

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