Nabil Fekir will forever be remembered as the one who got away for Liverpool.
The French midfielder infamously saw a move to Merseyside collapse at the eleventh hour in the summer of 2018, the Reds pulled the plug on a deal after scans of his medical led to concerns over an ACL injury he suffered in 2015. It was decided that the best course of action was to walk away.
Fekir would leave Lyon the following summer to sign for Real Betis, a club he represents to this day. The 30-year-old has remained largely injury-free during his stay in Spain until the beginning of this year. The 2018 World Cup winner suffered an ACL injury in February that is expected to sideline him until September as Liverpool’s long-term fears become reality.
The Betis playmaker is arguably the player fans remember when they reflect on deals that fell through, although there was another Frenchman whose dreams of a transfer to Liverpool for Fekir were shattered.
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Looking for a replacement for Luis Suarez in 2014, the Reds turned their attention to Loic Remy. The striker had turned heads during his first season in England with QPR and further cemented his profile thanks to a loan spell at Newcastle United the following season, which saw him score 14 goals in 26 Premier League appearances.
Aware that other parties were also interested in the individual, Liverpool decided to strike an £8.5 million deal with QPR to fend off competition from elsewhere. Remy was expected to complete his move during the Reds’ pre-season tour of America that summer, after undergoing a medical in Boston, and was offered the vacant number seven shirt left by Suarez.
An issue announcing this deal was first attributed to administrative issues, although just days later it was confirmed that Remy would not arrive at all. The club declined to comment on why this decision was made, although the player himself later revealed exactly what happened.
Chelsea took advantage of this transfer collapse and soon moved in to recruit the striker on a four-year contract. There were no medical problems for the Londoners, so why were Liverpool unable to make this move official?
Remy revealed what went wrong shortly after signing for Chelsea, saying: “I came for the medical tests and everything was fine and then they wanted to make sure everything was okay with my heart. They asked for a heart specialist and apparently the man said they didn’t agree 100 per cent whether I could continue or stop playing football.”
“I didn’t understand because they knew before I came. I just told my agent that if it doesn’t happen it’s because it’s not for me. Now I feel much better here at Chelsea, I’m very happy to be here and that’s why I say everything happens for a reason. There are a lot of players with the same case as me. I don’t know why people think it’s something big that can stop me playing football.”
“I was more confused when Liverpool said I had a medical problem because it’s not fair. I’ve seen the best specialist in London and he told me I can still play, so it wasn’t good of them. Even if they don’t want to sign me, okay, but they don’t have to put that in the papers because then all the other clubs will be scared after that.”
Fortunately for Liverpool, Remy was not a big hit at Stamford Bridge. During his debut season with Chelsea, he made 21 Premier League appearances, only seven of which were starts. He scored as many as seven times before further limiting first-team opportunities in 2015-16.
Released by Chelsea in 2017 after a loan spell at Crystal Palace, Remy left for La Liga to join Las Palmas on a free transfer. Since then he has represented Lille, Turkish clubs Caykur Rizespor and Adana Demirspor and most recently Brest. Now a free agent, his next move in the game remains to be seen.
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