Liverpool FC legend Steven Gerrard has revealed that he used to make contact with top transfer targets in a bid to persuade the players to move to Anfield.
Gerrard’s new autobiography, My Story, is currently being serialised in the Daily Mail and the LA Galaxy midfielder has written about being approached by the club ahead of the transfer window to try to lure high-profile transfer targets to Merseyside.
The 35-year-old revealed that he talked to Brazilian midfielder Willian through text messages, before he eventually moved to Chelsea FC and highlighted that it was a lack of Champions League football which proved to be the stumbling block.
Next year, Gerrard was asked to speak to an even more ambitious target in the form of German midfielder Toni Kroos. The veteran revealed that he was aware that Real Madrid were interested in the services of the Bayern Munich midfielder, but still tried to persuade the German to move to Anfield.
Steven Gerrard praised Kroos for being respectful during their exchanges even though the midfielder eventually signed for Real Madrid.
I slipped into the groove with Willian — Gerrard
Here are some excerpts from the book, as featured on The DailyMail:
‘In 2013, the latest player in our sights was Willian, the Brazilian midfielder. I followed the usual routine when approaching a star player we wanted to sign. Instead of calling him directly I always sent a text. It seemed more respectful and allowed the player to read my message at a time when it suited him best. A cold call felt wrong.
I slipped into the groove with Willian. I said hello and hoped he didna t mind me contacting him directly. I stressed how much I admired him as a player and then, having mentioned that I knew Liverpool were speaking to his agent, I used the standard line: a If you need to chat or ask any questions Ia m available at any time.a
It was the opening move in a familiar game. The reply came in and the same old conversation started. Willian thanked me and he said the usual, along the lines of, a Ia d love to play with you, Steven, blah-blah-blah, but there are other clubs who play in the Champions League I need to talk to as well.a I knew Spurs and Chelsea were also very keen on Willian. So I answered him and said, of course, I understood. But I then went in with my sales pitch. a I think Liverpool would be a great move for you. The fans are amazing, the history is there and wea re building a good team. You could do something great here – and wea d love to have you.a
I meant it, too, because the club only asked for my help if it was with a player I rated. But I always tried to persuade with honesty and respect and never mentioned anything about the playera s financial situation or the contract he could expect from Liverpool. The next text from Willian was so obvious I could have written it for him even before I read it. He again said that it would be great to play in the same team as me but a Ia m not sure Liverpool can give me the Champions League.a He went to Chelsea.’
But God loves a trier, and so I gave it a whirl
Gerrard then talks about the Reds pursuit of World Cup winner Toni Kroos; he was quoted as saying:
‘Our target in 2014 was ridiculously optimistic. Brendan asked me to take a crack at trying to talk Toni Kroos into signing for Liverpool. He smiled when I said wea d be p*****g into the wind with this one. We both admired Kroos immensely. I knew Real Madrid were gearing up to make Bayern Munich an offer and so I felt a bit awkward when I texted Kroos. The German was on his way to winning the World Cup with his country and Real were the champions of Europe. But God loves a trier, and so I gave it a whirl.
Some of the best footballers in the world can also be the most respectful. Kroos didna t make me feel like I was a total idiot. But, of course, he would soon sign for Real Madrid. We had a nice little exchange of texts and I said well done and good luck.’