Liverpool looked all set to sign Nabil Fekir this summer, agreeing a £53million fee with Lyon before surprisingly pulling the plug.
There has been no official statement from the Reds on why they didn’t go ahead with the deal but it is believed there were problems with his medical.
Liverpool fans were excited by the prospect of Fekir moving to Anfield this summer, with the attacking midfielder having impressed for Lyon and France.
Jurgen Klopp is now looking elsewhere to boost his squad, but theRE are plenty of alternatives to the 24-year-old.
talkSPORT takes a look at four other attacking stars the Reds could move for with the deal for Fekir dead…
1. Christian Pulisic – Borussia Dortmund
The USMNT have little to celebrate at the moment. Missing out on World Cup qualification for the first time since 1986, an FA in turmoil and the retirement of several senior players has thrown the entire sport into crisis in the US.
Left to defend its honour is Christian Pulisic, already on course to be the most successful US men’s player of all time.
Just 16 when he swapped Pennsylvania for Dortmund, he already has two years of Champions League experience under his belt, along with nine goals in 21 international appearances.
Strikingly similar in profile to Fekir, his ability to both create and dribble position him as one of Europe’s best prospects, and if Klopp does decide to utilise any goodwill with his former club, Pulisic will be the first name on his shortlist – having reportedly tried three times to sign him already without success.
2. Leon Bailey – Bayer Leverkusen
Heard the one about the Jamaican-born, German-qualifying winger who’s played in five different countries before turning 21 and had England – mistakenly – scrambling to try and change his national allegiance?
Like Fekir a tricky, left-footed winger, Leon Bailey is also blessed with electric speed, using it to help himself to 12 goals last season as he burst onto the scene in the Bundesliga.
His efforts made him the talk of Premier League scouts last season, with both Manchester clubs and Chelsea reportedly taking a strong interest.
High demand could price Liverpool out of the market, although with £53million freed up if Fekir doesn’t sign, don’t count them out of the race just yet.
3. Florian Thauvin – Marseille
Stay with us, Newcastle United fans. Yes, this is the same Florian Thauvin whose half-season at St James’ Park produced just one goal, against Northampton Town in the League Cup. The same player who, inexplicably, decided to rock up to a home game in a tuxedo with Chancel Mbemba.
Upon returning to former club Marseille however, it turns out Thauvin really is the player Magpies fans were promised when he arrived on Tyneside ahead of the fateful 2015-16 season.
In 34 Ligue 1 appearances in 2017-18, Thauvin struck up a fearsome partnership with ex-West Ham man Dimitri Payet, on his way to 22 goals, 11 assists and a first France call-up.
Named in Didier Deschamps’ 23 for Russia, he may struggle to force his way into the team ahead of Ousmane Dembele, Thomas Lemar and Fekir himself, but should he get his chance, his rapidly-growing reputation will gain further stock in front of a global audience – it may be time to act fast, Jurgen.
4. Keita Balde – AS Monaco
What does a club do when stripped of its four biggest talents all in the space of a single summer? For Monaco, the answer to losing Kylian Mbappe, Bernardo Silva, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Benjamin Mendy came in the form of this prodigious La Masia product, then of Lazio.
Less in the Fekir mould, Balde’s playing style more closely fits the blistering counter-attacking method that propelled Liverpool to the Champions League final last season.
The Senegalese, two-footed and a lethal finisher, is another headed to Russia this summer, joining potential new Reds teammate Sadio Mane in the Lions of Teranga’s starting lineup.
Likely to command a fee far exceeding the £26million Monaco paid last summer, Balde’s under-the-radar talent would suit Klopp’s ‘heavy metal’ football perfectly as they push for a first league title since 1990.
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