Liverpool: Does history suggest they can close gap?
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Liverpool had a deal agreed to sign Watford winger Ismaila Sarr during the January transfer window, and Sadio Mane was even helping him to find a home in Merseyside. However, the Reds pulled the plug on the deal after refusing to pay Watford’s £35million asking price.
Sarr has been linked with a move to Anfield on multiple occasions now.
The winger was expected to leave Vicarage Road after the Hornets were relegated from the Premier League last summer.
Manchester United and Liverpool were both said to be interested, with the former on the hunt for a new right winger and the champions looking for reinforcements up top.
But Watford had other plans, and refused to let him leave for anything less than a reported £40m.
As a result, United looked elsewhere and bought Amad from Atalanta in a deal worth £37m as well as Facundo Pellistri from Penarol.
And Liverpool also moved on, signing Diogo Jota from Wolves for an initial £4m, which can rise to £45m once installments and add-ons are paid.
But according to Sarr’s agent, Thierno Seydi, Liverpool went back in for Sarr during the January window and nearly had a deal agreed.
Seydi told Panafricanfootball: “With Liverpool, a few days ago, we were at the stage of signing the contract that would tie the Reds to Ismaïla Sarr.
“Everything was sorted: the monthly wages and the length of the deal.
“I’d even asked Sadio Mané to find him an apartment.
“But in the end, the English club weren’t able to put the €40m on the table to finalise the affair.
“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”
Liverpool were active in the window, but waited until the final day in order to move for two centre-backs.
Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies both joined the Premier League champions after injuries to Joel Matip and Fabinho crippled Liverpool at the back.
This summer, however, they will likely have to be more active – with Georginio Wijnaldum’s contract set to expire and heavy speculation surrounding the futures of Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri.
Sarr is under contract at Watford until 2024, meaning Watford have no need to sell, but if they are unable to secure promotion back to the top flight they could find themselves facing more bids for the 22-year-old.
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