Real Madrid have joined Liverpool in the race to sign Nabil Fekir, if claims from Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas are to be believed
As reported by Daily Mirror, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has claimed in an interview with RT France that Nabil Fekir is attracting interest from Real Madrid. The European champions have joined Liverpool in the race to sign the Frenchman in the summer transfer window.
Fekir has bounced back from a gruesome knee injury to become one of the hottest properties in Europe. His performances in the 2017-18 season were especially eye-catching, with the player revelling in his role as the Lyon captain before ending the campaign with 23 goals and 8 assists in 40 appearances across all competitions.
In the weeks leading to the opening of the summer transfer window, Fekir’s future at Lyon has been a subject of heavy uncertainty. Liverpool have been the resounding favourites in his pursuit, with the Reds once on the cusp of securing his services before the move broke down as they looked to reduce the fee upon indicating a troublesome knee in his medical. They now seem to have company in the player’s pursuit, with Real Madrid now joining them.
“My knee is super-good…I honestly feel like before my injury”
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) June 19, 2018
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas addressed the failure of the Liverpool move, claiming that he called off the transfer before commenting on the entrance of Real Madrid into the picture.
“Yeah, listen, at that stage it was foreseen he would go to Liverpool, I had given it the green light to go ahead. but it just took too long, things were just too drawn out. He is an exceptional player, he keeps the ball in little space and has an incredible talent.
“The fact that things didn’t conclude with Liverpool and it didn’t happen in that timeframe has peaked the interest of a lot of other clubs – Real Madrid, but not just Real Madrid and their new trainer.”
Liverpool’s interest stems from the fact that Jurgen Klopp has very little quality beyond his first-choice attacking trio of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. The player seemed to be eager to join the Merseyside club as well, with personal terms and shirt number already agreed and his first official interview given to the club’s website.
Real Madrid, on the other hand, are in desperate need of attacking reinforcements with goals not coming consistently from players other than Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale this past season. That the duo’s futures at the Bernabeu are uncertain only makes the situation all the more alarming for new manager Julen Lopetegui, who is believed to be an admirer of Fekir’s talents.
While Aulas also added that he would prefer keeping hold of his club’s captain, he insisted that he will not stand in his way if the right offer came his way. The right figure reportedly is £63 million, which Real Madrid should have very little problem shelling out. Liverpool though, are likely to be reluctant to pay the sum, having only been willing to pay a little over £50 million for him.
What keeps this transfer saga extremely interesting is the fact that Fekir’s agent Jean Pierre-Bernes insisted that the Liverpool deal is not dead, yet. It has been reported that the Reds are Fekir’s preferred destination, which could see Bernes, who shares a close relationship with Aulas, talk the Lyon president into some sort of a compromise, meaning Real Madrid are on the back foot for now.
The talks though, will be held off until after France’s World Cup campaign, and it remains to be seen how things develop until then. For now, Real Madrid are also in the hunt for Fekir, like Chelsea and Tottenham, with Liverpool possibly still the favourites to sign him.