IT’S silly season again. The Reds are being linked with every YouTube all-star and Bundesliga wonderkid under the sun, while Twitter has already seen its fair share of meltdowns over ‘missed’ targets that they heard about in the pub.

However, there are some genuine transfer targets that Liverpool have missed out on over the years. Some have gone on to conquer the footballing world, while others have been quickly forgotten about and swept under the rug.

The Reds do happen to have a whole host of transfers that never materialised — actually enough to make an 11. So we did just that. Here are just some of those that didn’t quite make it to Anfield.

Frank Worthington

When: We nearly signed him in summer 1972.

Why did Liverpool want him?

The word mercurial perhaps doesn’t do him justice. Worthington was a player who possessed genuine footballing ability, though he was on a path of self-destruction for most of his career due to his partying habits.

He was known as ‘the working man’s George Best’, and there are plenty of infamous stories about his over-indulgence, most heavily featuring beer and women. Not many are more infamous, or relevant in this case, than the story behind his failed move to Anfield.

He was a player that Bill Shankly admired, having just come off the back of a good international campaign with England.


How close did he come to signing? 

The rumoured reasons behind the collapse of Worthington’s transfer are the stuff of footballing legend. Though, the bottom line was that he failed a medical. Twice.

His life of leisure had caught up to him and, although there were rumours that he failed the first medical due to having ‘the clap’, high blood pressure was cited as the cause.

Worthington claimed the high blood pressure was down to stress, before jetting off to Mallorca to relax. Despite seeing Miss Great Britain at the time, it didn’t stop him chatting up a woman on the plane, before indulging in a threesome with a Swedish mother and daughter. He failed a second medical on his return.

What happened in the end?

The England international moved on to Leicester City and acknowledged the damage he was doing to his body. Not that it stopped him.

He continued his fast lane lifestyle, divorcing his Swedish wife, who he got pregnant during a similar holiday fling to the one that led to his failed Anfield medical.

He was eventually ousted from the Leicester squad for accusing the team of lacking skill, and went on to play for a whole host of clubs, including Bolton Wanderers, Southampton and Tranmere Rovers, before retiring from the game in 1992.

Josh Sexton

Michael Laudrup

When: We nearly signed him in summer 1983.


Why did Liverpool want him?

Laudrup had looked a great player during his time in Denmark with Brondby, having scored 24 goals in 38 games and picking up the Danish player of the year in 1982. He was quick and intelligent on the ball, as well as being a versatile attacking midfielder.

Even at 19 years old there were signs of a player who possessed technique well beyond his years. He could play down the middle and out wide, but was best utilised just behind the striker.

The Dane was a boyhood Red and was eager for the move to happen, having watched Liverpool games on television as a young lad, citing the atmosphere as a big reason why he wanted to join the club.

How close did he come to signing?

He thought he had. He said: “We actually agreed a deal and I came over with my father to talk to Liverpool’s representatives. We agreed a three-year contract and went away thinking it was all done.

“But two weeks later they came back saying they wanted to offer me the same package, but for four years because I was still young and needed time to develop. I was disappointed because although nothing had been signed, we had an agreement.”

So he turned down his dream move to the Reds, which seemed quite a drastic decision for a youngster, considering Liverpool’s domination in the 1980s, and the fact that he was only offered an extra year, which he decided was a deal-breaker.


What happened in the end?

He signed for Juventus and the rest is pretty much history. He went to be regarded as one of the finest footballers of this generation, playing over 100 games in both Turin and Barcelona.

He thrived under the leadership of Johan Cruyff at the Nou Camp, and became a member of what is known as the ‘dream team’, featuring fellow managers Pep Guardiola and Ronald Koeman.

He had the chance to experience Anfield as manager during his time at the helm of Swansea, but it’s not quite the same, is it?

Josh Sexton

Teddy Sheringham

When: We nearly signed him in summer 1995.

Why did Liverpool want him?

Sheringham had a prolific strike record during his time at Spurs, and had proven himself as a goalscorer in the Premier League.

He had built up some formidable partnerships with the likes of Tony Cascarino and Jürgen Klinsmann, and Roy Evans was keen to bring in his experience with Robbie Fowler emerging from the ranks.

Despite his age, 29 years old at the time, he was still capable of producing magic, and he appeared the ideal choice to mentor Fowler.


How close did he come to signing?

The interest was there, and everything had seemed to be going smoothly. Evans wanted the player and Sheringham seemed keen on the move.

The former Reds boss spoke to The Anfield Wrap back in 2011 and said: “I had a chance to bring Teddy in, but the club policy on transfers was no players over 28. He went to play until he was 38, or was it 48!

“But we needed that experience. We had John Barnes, a bit of Rushie, but we needed a little bit more with those younger players.

“Teddy was a great player and knew when to party and when to play and he could have told those kids ‘This is the right time, this is the wrong time’ – that sort of help for Barnesy and Rushie might have gone down well.”

What happened in the end? 

Sheringham went on to play until he was 42. Shortly after the aborted Anfield move, he signed for Manchester United, where he enjoyed huge success.

He eventually retired in 2008, having scored over 300 goals, and there isn’t much debating that he could have made a big difference at Liverpool.

However, it wasn’t to be and the Reds instead ended up with Stan Collymore. Look how that went…

Josh Sexton

Lee Bowyer

When: We nearly signed him in summer 2002.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 23, 2011: Liverpool's Lucas Leiva clashes with Birmingham City's Lee Bowyer during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Why did Liverpool want him?

Because he had been a really good player. He finished the 2000/01 season as Leeds United’s player of the year — the season when they reached the semi-finals of the Champions League. And he played well in the following campaign, too, despite spending much of it on trial for grievous bodily harm. He also fitted in well with what the manager wanted from a midfielder — hard-working, versatile and with an eye for a goal. You could have imagined him playing either on the centre or on the right in Gerard Houllier’s narrow, industrious midfield. He was also available for a decent price at £9million.

But for many fans it was hard to look past why he was available. Bowyer had fallen out with his club after being fined four weeks’ wages for a breach of the club’s conduct after the trial had finished, and he also turned down a new contract from the club which had paid his legal fees throughout. Despite his acquittal, many Liverpool fans felt uneasy about his character.

Houllier, though, wasn’t a manager afraid of making a controversial signing — he took Nick Barmby from Everton and wondered what all the fuss was about. But for many Reds, Lee Bowyer was a bridge too far.

How close did he come to signing?

Very. A fee was agreed and he and his agent travelled to Melwood to agree terms. Liverpool weren’t shy about throwing decent wages around at that point, so you expected to see him at Anfield with a scarf above his head any minute.

However, it never happened. That summer I was working in a warehouse in the packaging department wrapping glasses in cardboard. It was a very boring job made worse by the dreadful, now defunct, local commercial radio station we were forced to listen to. The only respite was the news. Every hour I expected them to say Lee Bowyer was now a Liverpool player. Every hour it simply said talks were still ongoing.

So the story goes, Lee Bowyer played pool with his friend whilst his agent tried to agree the deal next door. It dragged and dragged until Houllier, believing Bowyer and his representatives should have been a lot more grateful to get an opportunity to resurrect his career at a club like Liverpool, called the transfer off.

Here is what assistant manager Phil Thompson wrote about the negotiations in his autobiography: “As things moved on I rang the player and said: ‘Get yourself ready. Once the deal is done and dusted we will fly you out to Switzerland.’

“He was saying ‘Yeah, okay.’ But there was no emotion from him to suggest that a deal was imminent. Rick [Parry] and Gerard had another meeting with the agent, but they still failed to agree terms.

“I spoke to Bowyer again, once again asking him to be ready to travel should everything be sorted. His response was: ‘I don’t know where my passport is,’ and added: ‘I’m not in Leeds, I’m in London.’ He was with Rio Ferdinand.

“I said: ‘This is all wrong. It’s clear he is not committed to us and this must be getting through to our fans. To me, we need to pull it before Lee Bowyer and his agent come back and say the move is not right for them.’

“Rick and Gerard decided that we would tell the press that night. I couldn’t believe Lee Bowyer had not jumped at the chance to play for Liverpool FC. Better players than him would have walked all the way to Anfield. We had made a big commitment on our side, but it had been all one way.”


What happened in the end?

Lee Bowyer stayed at Leeds until January when he signed for West Ham United, whose fans protested against the move at Upton Park. Bowyer got injured a lot, and the Hammers were relegated at the end of the season. Bowyer then moved to Newcastle United, where his most memorable moment was fighting on the pitch with teammate Kieron Dyer.

Liverpool signed Salif Diao instead, who had his limitations but never webbed any of his own teammates, so it’s all relative. But fellow summer signing El Hadj Diouf did spit at a Celtic fan, so it’s fair to say Ged could pick ’em.

The whole thing left me feeling a little grubby. I’d find myself wondering how he would fit into our team, I really rated him as a player but then I was chastising myself for even considering the positives. My dad had no such wavers. He rang me as the story broke telling me he’d boo him if he ever played for Liverpool. I just wish the whole thing had never happened. We did get one good song out of it, though:

“Diouf, Diouf, Diouf is on fire…
…We don’t need Lee Bowyer let the mother fucker burn.”

John Gibbons

Cristiano Ronaldo

When: We nearly signed him in summer 2003.

Why did Liverpool want him?

He looked a decent talent at the time….

Phil Thompson had been invited out to Portugal to watch Ronaldo and he was available for just £4million.

The winger had established himself in the Sporting Lisbon side, and was said to be keen on the move to Liverpool, as he said: “Liverpool are one of the best clubs in England and it would be a dream for any player to represent a club of such traditions.”

One of the early problems with the deal is that the player’s agent had asked for the player to receive £1million tax-free, a move which Liverpool worried would upset their other young players.

MADRID, SPAIN - Tuesday, November 4, 2014: Liverpool's Martin Skrtel in action against Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo during the UEFA Champions League Group B match at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

How close did he come to signing?

The Reds were busy looking for a compromise on the deal to ensure they got their man, as Thompson had left Portugal to talk the deal over with Rick Parry.

Thompson said: “10 days later 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 and myself nearly choked on our food.”

While Liverpool had believed talks were going smoothly, United had nipped in and stolen the young Portuguese star from under their noses, though they ended up paying triple what the Reds offered.

What happened in the end?

You know, don’t you? Let’s not go through it all.

Josh Sexton

Simao Sabrosa

When: We nearly signed him in summer 2005.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 8, 2009: Liverpool's Lucas Leiva fouls Club Atletico de Madrid's Simao during the pre-season friendly match at Anfield. (Pic by: David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Why did Liverpool want him?

It’s the summer of 2005, Liverpool are Champions of Europe but Liverpool’s squad isn’t actually that great. Liverpool need to make it better.

The summer of 05/06 is one looked upon fondly by Liverpool fans and is often cited as an example to managers on how to successfully navigate their way through the transfer window. Rafa Benitiez identified weaknesses in the squad he inherited from the departing Gerard Houllier, and addressed them.

We were conceding too many goals, he signed Pepe Reina — one of the best goalkeepers in La Liga. With Didi Hamann ageing and Xabi Alonso still new to the Premier League, we were regularly being dominated physically in midfield, so he signed Momo Sissoko, a physically-dominant midfielder.

Between striking options, Djibril Cisse, Milan Baros and Florent Sinama­-Pongolle, Liverpool lacked a ‘plan B’ in the final third. Rafa had the idea that if we can’t play through the opposition, we’ll play over them. In theory, the pace of record signing, Cisse should have been suited to be that out-­ball, to run on to balls over the top, but the Frenchman never quite figured out the off­side rule.

£14million worth of Peter Crouch was identified to come in and play the role that John Carew played for Benitez’s all-conquering Valencia side — to hold it up and get the side out when under pressure. Other than the addition of Bolo Zenden on a free transfer, that was that.

An interesting summer’s business, and one that solved a lot of problems in a practical sense, but there was nothing that set the imagination alight, nothing to help you catch fire. It is looked upon in hindsight as a revealing insight into Rafa’s mind and an introduction to the term ‘pragmatism’. The narrative was Rafa bought the ‘right’ legs for his table rather than the ‘best’ ones. Portuguese winger Simão Sabrosa, however, represented a pretty good table leg, and Rafa wanted him.

Why? Because he was one of the best attackers in Europe. Simão’s 22 goals had fired Benfica to the Primeira Liga title and the Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira in 2005. Liverpool started the Champions League final with left-back, John Arne Riise, playing left midfield against Cafu (How on earth did we win that competition?). Simão was a clear step­ up in quality and, having finished fifth in the Premier League, the idea was that the Portuguese international would fire the Reds back into the hunt for the title, as well as competing in the latter stages of Europe again.

MADRID, SPAIN - Wednesday, October 22, 2008: Club Atletico de Madrid's Simao in action against Liverpool during the UEFA Champions League Group D match at the Vicente Calderon. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

How close did he come to signing?


The 25-year-old had been given permission to leave a Portugal training camp to fly to Anfield for a medical with a view to a transfer.

The wide-man’s agent, Jorge Baidek, had confirmed to Sky Sports that the talks were heading towards a ‘positive conclusion’. Baidek announced: “Now the operation is very advanced and we wait for a final solution in the next few hours.”

What happened in the end?

Benfica were reluctant to lose their captain and backed out of the deal at the 11th hour. The reason for the failure to conclude a deal was a change in Benfica’s demands as they decided they wanted in excess of £13.6million, while the Reds where only willing to go as far as £12.3 million. What’s a few million between John Arne Riise?

Benitez would get his superstar signing 12 months later, though, with Fernando Torres jetting in from Atletico Madrid, and Simão ironically replacing the Spaniard at the Vicente Calderón. Though, not before he had put the final nails in the ‘Liverpool are going to be the first team to retain the Champions League’ coffin, scoring the opening goal at Anfield in a 2-­0 defeat against Benfica on the night, as the Portuguese champions beat the Reds 3­-0 on aggregate, on their way to reaching the quarter-finals.

Liverpool went on to win the FA Cup in 2006 and reach a second Champions League final in three years in 2007. Swings and roundabouts.

Shaun Walsh

Dani Alves

When: We nearly signed him in Summer 2006.

Why did Liverpool want him?

He looked like he could be boss. Playing for Sevilla at the time, and at just 23 years of age, he seemed an ideal option at right-back – exciting going forward and a reasonable defender.

The Reds had shipped out Josemi the previous January, probably for the best, and although they had the ever reliable Steve Finnan, with Jan Kromkamp as his less-reliable cover, the Brazilian was certainly a player that the Reds should’ve been looking at.

Alves was available for around £8million, which looks an absolute steal in hindsight, and having recently starred in his sides 4-0 UEFA Cup final victory over Middlesbrough, he had shown that he had what it took to compete against British opposition.

How close did he come to signing?

A closed wallet away. As previously mentioned, the figure was around £8million and Sevilla had agreed to sell the Brazilian to Liverpool, things appeared to be going smoothly.

However, Rafa had other ideas and was refusing to match Sevilla’s asking price and, as we know once the Spaniard believed in something, he wasn’t to be swayed.

The move broke down as neither side would back down on their own valuations of the player and Alves signed a new deal shortly after.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Tuesday, February 23, 2016: Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez in action against FC Barcelona's Dani Alves during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg match at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by Kirsten Holst/Propaganda)

What happened in the end?

He stayed in Seville for a further two years and then signed for Barcelona for around £23 million, and has been an integral part of some of the greatest sides that the world has seen.

Alves, and his full-back colleague Jordi Alba, have been a key component in the way that Barca play, both getting forward with pace to sustain attacking moves, and equally providing a solid-defensive base to help out their centre-back partners.

Winning just about all there is to win in Spain, the right-back has made Benitez look pretty daft in valuing him at less than £8million, although he did make up for it slightly by signing Alvaro Arbeloa the following January for a much smaller fee in truth.

So yeah. Another Rafa clanger. Ah well…

Josh Sexton

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Gabriel Heinze

When: We nearly signed him in Summer 2007.

Why did Liverpool want him?

Stephen Warnock had left the club in January, and Rafa needed competition for John Arne Riise at left-back, and where better to look than somebody with Premier League pedigree, as well as being a title winner in the previous season.

Heinze seemed like the ideal option at the time, apparently available for just over £6million, possessing a tenacious attitude shown in his combative nature on the pitch, he seemed like the perfect match for Liverpool fans, who love to see their players getting stuck in.

Heinze had won United’s player of the year award in his first season at the club, the first non-European to do so, such was his quick adaptation to the physicality of the English game. He could play in central defence as well as his natural position of left-back and had vast international experience.

How close did he come to signing?

Just a tribunal away. He had kicked up a fuss at United claiming that he had been sent a letter signed by David Gill stating that he could leave if any club met their valuation, believed to be around £6.8million.

Liverpool were willing to meet this but that’s when their rivals began to backtrack, claiming that they weren’t willing to sell to a title rival, no less Liverpool, and that the clause was only open to clubs abroad.

Juventus were also sniffing around at the time, and United were reportedly much more keen for him to move to Turin rather than across Lancashire.

The dispute between the Reds, Heinze, Fergie and co. went to a tribunal, which if ruled in favour of the Argentinian would leave him free to move to Anfield.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SATURDAY JANUARY 15th 2005: Liverpool's Fernando Morientes and Manchester United's Gabriel Heinze during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

What happened in the end?

United got their way. The Premier League arbitrary panel, apparently made up of Bobby Charlton, Fred the Red and Howard Webb (unconfirmed), ruled in favour of the Mancs, claiming that the permission “was unambiguous in that it envisages only an international transfer”.

It went on to state that it was not a binding agreement which would allow Heinze any transfer and some other official jargon. Basically, it wasn’t meant to be.

Emiliano Insua had been on loan at the club since January and had made a handful of appearances towards the back end of the season, so the Reds offered him a three-year deal after being knocked back in their pursuit of the Argentinian.

Heinze later moved to Real Madrid for around £8million, although his cruciate ligament injury, which saw him lose his place to Patrice Evra at United, had impacted negatively upon his pace and his best years were probably behind him.

No doubt he could’ve done a job at left back for the Reds, even if he had merely provided cover for Riise, but United had dug their heels with the issue and got their way.

Josh Sexton

Gareth Barry

When: We nearly signed him in Summer 2008.

Why did Liverpool want him?

Because he was very good at football. Gareth Barry was probably the best centre midfielder in the country not playing for a top-four side in 2008. He was left-sided and he had a very solid injury record. It’s worth remembering that Xabi Alonso, who he was slated to replace, had come off two injury-interrupted seasons and hadn’t been that close to the standards he had set in the early part of his Liverpool career . In 2006/7, Benitez starts Alonso from the bench in the second leg of the semi-final against Chelsea, something unthinkable only a year before. There were few words of criticism towards Benitez for that decision.

Yet by August 2008, Alonso’s performance in a pre-season friendly led the Kop to chant “You can stick your Gareth Barry up your arse,” sending a message to Benitez that Barry wasn’t wanted at Alonso’s expense.

In an ideal world, I suspect that Benitez would have wanted both Barry and Alonso, but by the summer of 2008 he was well aware of how far away from an ideal world he was working in.

Gerrard and Barry had also repeatedly linked well in centre midfield for England – the two seemingly being very close. Barry was a quintessential Benitez signing, tall, strong, technically good and a captain type at his previous club.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 22, 2009: Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard MBE and Aston Villa's Gareth Barry during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

How close did he come to signing?

Very close indeed. This Guardian piece, written by the very well-connected Stuart James, depicts a done deal. Also, Barry had been fined two weeks’ wages for giving a want-away interview.

Liverpool simply couldn’t get the deal done. If the plan was that Alonso goes out and Barry comes in, they couldn’t negotiate a good enough package for the Spaniard. If the plan was that Barry comes in and then they have a look, then they couldn’t scrabble Aston Villa’s asking price together, despite spending money on Robbie Keane – a transfer Benitez later hinted strongly shouldn’t have been the Reds’ priority. For him the extra centre midfielder was the priority, something which, for better or worse, rings true with Benitez.

Liverpool ended up buying Albert Riera.

What happened in the end?

We probably only really saw the shape that Benitez envisaged at Goodison that season – Riera and Gerrard played in very fluid centre-midfield positions with Dirk Kuyt and Keane moving around Torres at centre forward and Alonso at the base. Liverpool bamboozled Moyes’s Everton that day with players popping up across the park. Substitute Barry in for Riera and you probably have Benitez’s best-case scenario.

Alonso went on to have possibly his best season in a red shirt, as Liverpool just fell short of winning the league.

Barry stayed another season at Villa, Benitez tried to sign him again the following summer after Alonso went for mega money to Real Madrid. Instead, Barry went to the newly-minted Manchester City where he was integral to their league-winning side in 2012. And following that, he impressed at Everton in their excellent 2013/14 season.

Neither Xabi Alonso nor Gareth Barry currently play for Liverpool.

Neil Atkinson

Loic Remy

When: We nearly signed him in Summer 2014.

Why did Liverpool want him?

The Reds had lost talisman Luis Suarez earlier in the summer and had around £65million burning a hole in their pocket. Remy had scored 14 goals in the previous league campaign and seemed a good shout to replace the 30-goal void left by the Uruguayan.

The French striker’s release clause at Queens Park Rangers was £8.5million, which Liverpool were willing to meet. At that price it’s hard to argue that he would’ve provided a solid backup to Daniel Sturridge.

The risk was low, given that he had started to prove himself in England and the rumoured fee wasn’t as astronomical as other potential options at that time. His versatility was a further attraction for Brendan Rodgers, as he could play anywhere across the front three.

I wonder how he would’ve fared as a wing-back.

How close did he come to signing?

Oh so close. The Frenchman had flown out to the USA, where the Reds were on their pre-season tour, to have a medical and, assuming all went smoothly, join up with his new teammates.

QPR had been keen to offload the striker, and there were a gang of European clubs chasing his signature, but Anfield provided the ideal destination.

The Reds had met the £8.5million release clause and terms had apparently been agreed. Everything seemed to be set.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, September 30, 2013: Newcastle United's Loic Remy celebrates scoring the second goal against Everton during the Premiership match at Goodison Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

What happened in the end?

The move fell through. Liverpool allegedly pulled the plug after Remy failed his medical, with heart problems cited as the reason for the collapsed move.

These issues were initially flagged up in 2010, during his medical prior to his move to Marseille, with an MRI scan revealing an “anomaly” on the wall of his heart. Marseille went ahead with the move, following consultation with heart specialists, but Liverpool didn’t seem keen to take such a risk.

Remy eventually moved to Chelsea for a fee believed to be in the region of £10million, and he scored seven goals in 19 league appearances in his first season at Stamford Bridge. Level with Raheem Sterling – the Reds’ makeshift striker for much of the season.

The Frenchman remains at Chelsea, where his first-team opportunities remain limited, while we appear to have finally sorted out our striker problems.

We’ve got Daniel, Divock and Danny, we’ll be sound.

Josh Sexton

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Dele Alli

When: We nearly signed him in January 2015.

Why did Liverpool want him?

He’d been touted as ‘the next Steven Gerrard’, just as the Reds were set to lose the real thing at the end of the season. Alli was one of those midfielders that seemed to have a bit of everything and could do a job anywhere across the centre of the park.

The young Englishman had become a first-team regular at MK Dons, alongside former Red Darren Potter, and was beginning to establish himself as a future star. Shortly after signing a new deal with The Dons, he scored a hat-trick and picked up an assist in a 6-1 thrashing of Crewe Alexandra.

Rodgers was very keen on the youngster, recognising the qualities that he could bring to Anfield, particularly in the future, having been shown the player by his manager and former Liverpool academy coach, Karl Robinson.

How close did he come to signing?

Despite what the manager saw in Alli, the owners believed they hadn’t seen enough to give him the wages he was demanding at the time, they valued him as an U21s player, and as such he would receive an U21s wage – believed to be around £4,000 a week.

Rodgers has since said that he was “disappointed” and “frustrated” at not being able to sign the youngster, although that’s easy to say in hindsight. The Northern Irishman had been going to watch the youngster, invited by Robinson, and had been in talks with the player.

But FSG clearly couldn’t see what the former Reds boss saw. That, or they didn’t want to give him too much too young, which has often appeared to be the case with young players at the club, most notably Raheem Sterling.

What happened in the end?

Of course he’s had a blinder. He signed for Tottenham Hotspur on transfer deadline day and was loaned back to the Dons for the season, where he finished with 16 goals to help them secure promotion to the Championship.

Since then he has been a breakout star for a rejuvenated, and youthful, Spurs side, helping them mount a serious title challenge, and winning himself the PFA Young Player of the Year award.

He has become one of the first names on the teamsheet for Roy Hodgson’s England team, and is definitely one to watch for the Euros, given that he already has eight caps and belter of a goal against France under his belt.

And he’s just 20 years old. Sake.

Josh Sexton