There is an air of familiarity in the news of the Virgil Van Dijk transfer deal falling short of the mark, it is a trip down memory lane for many Reds fans, as they recall all the signings that should’ve and could’ve been.
Liverpool FC released the following statement tonight regarding Van Dijk :
“We apologise to the owner, board of directors and fans of Southampton for any misunderstanding regarding Virgil van Dijk.
We respect Southampton’s position and can confirm we have ended any interest in the player. ”
But, just who else have the Reds missed out on over the years?
Here are the top five recent players that got away:
1. Dele Alli- January 2015
Alli, who is now one of the hottest prospects in the Premier League was playing at League One side MK Dons, just three years ago. Hard to believe, yes.
Manager at the time, Brendan Rodgers, was keen on the English youngster and went as far as to arrange a meeting for Alli to meet his childhood hero , Steven Gerrard, who was to be leaving his beloved club that season ( 2014/15), Alli was seen as the long term replacement.
Alli, who was a boyhood Liverpool fan, went to Liverpool to hold talks, and after being told Gerrard was going to be present, he arrived to find that this wasn’t the case. It was reported that Gerrard was asleep at the time he was supposed to be meeting the young English midfielder.
As talks progressed, negotiations hit a brick wall over wage demands, with Liverpool only willing to offer a youth team wage of around £4,000.
Spurs then came in and swooped Alli from under the grasp of the Reds, for £5 million. It became clear that Tottenham were willing to meet the required player demands that Liverpool were not.
The two time consecutive winner of PFA young player of the year award is flourishing at Spurs and has proved to be a colossal loss for the Merseyside team.
2. Alexis Sanchez- July 2014
With talisman Luis Suarez on the way out of Anfield and Barcelona being the likely destination, Liverpool tried to use this to their advantage in a ploy to use Suarez as part of a swap plus cash deal.
The Reds were demanding Alexis Sanchez as well as around £30 million for the Catalan side to obtain the Uruguayan forward.
Suarez departed Anfield, but there was no arrival at Anfield in the shape of Sanchez.
This is because Arsenal won the race for the Chilean, spending £35 million to bring him to the Emirates.
It has been suggested that the deal was never probable due to the fact that Sanchez favoured moving to the area of London as opposed to anywhere else.
The Arsenal forward has since gone on to be one of the best players in the Premier League, scoring an impressive 53 goals in 103 games in all competitions for the Gunners.
3. Willian- August 2013 :
Willian, who was at Anzhi Makhachkala of the Russian League in 2013, was tipped to join Liverpool in a £30 million move.
The deal was reportedly agreed and all details finalised. However, out of nowhere it became apparent that Spurs was going to be his preferred choice of destination, similarly to Sanchez, opting for a move to the capital.
The Brazilian flew to London for his medical and final agreements, but then as Spurs themselves did, Chelsea came in at the last minute to throw their plan into jeopardy in what was a drastic, last minute U-turn which saw him move to the Blues.
Roman Abramovich, made a personal call to fellow Russian, Suleyman Kerimov, the Anzhi owner which saw him seal the deal.
Willian has been a key player at Chelsea over the past four years and would have been a terrific addition to the Liverpool squad should the deal have materialised.
4. Diego Costa – July 2014
Another current Chelsea player who could well have ended up at Anfield, is Diego Costa.
The Reds made a £21 million bid at the start of August 2013, which was the required amount to trigger the release clause in his contract at Atletico Madrid.
The deal failed though, as Costa signed a new contract at Atletico shortly after this.
However, he then went on to sign for Chelsea a year later.
It is reported that Jose Mourinho, the then Blues manager, scuppered Liverpool’s deal for Costa a year in advance, by ringing Costa and persuading him to wait a year and then sign for Chelsea.
He did just that, and since then has netted 52 Premier League goals.
Liverpool have lacked an out and out striker ever since Luis Suarez fled to Barcelona, Costa would have been an ideal replacement.
5. Christian Eriksen – August 2013
Eriksen, joined Spurs in an £11.5 million deal in 2013, but Liverpool were long term admirers of the Danish midfielder.
The Reds declared their interest for the former Ajax man in January 2012, but Eriksen himself said that the transfer was “not on the cards”.
Liverpool came back hunting the following year in 2013, in the summer window.
However, they faced stiff competition from Spurs, who proved problematic on a number of occasions for the Reds in transfer dealings with the likes of Dele Alli, Clint Dempsey, Hugo Lloris, and Christian Eriksen all snubbing a move to Merseyside in favour of the Lilywhites.
Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy and technical director Franco Baldini flew to Amsterdam to negotiate with Ajax and the move paid off.
Eriksen said: “It really impressed me that they wanted it so badly and wanted to do it so quickly”
In the end, he chose White Hart Lane as his destination and it was another missed opportunity for the Reds.
Eriksen has shown on countless occasions his range of talent whilst in the Premier League, and leaves Liverpool fans only able to imagine ‘what if’.