Liverpool's public courtship of Borussia Mönchengladbach's Mahmoud Dahoud has come to an abrupt and disappointing end. The German midfielder was tipped to be at the top of Jurgen Klopp's summer transfer targets.
The former Borussia Dortmund manager is a long-term admirer of the 21-year-old and a number of reports from journalists close to the club earlier on in the season suggested the Reds would be back in for him this summer, after failing to land him during the last summer window.
But now James Pearce, of the Liverpool Echo, has dropped the bombshell that the versatile midfielder is no longer on the Liverpool wish-list.
Perhaps it's coincidental that it's revealed he's no longer on the Anfield club's radar less than a month after reports from German publication Bild surfaced to suggest the midfielder had agreed to join Klopp's former club in the summer.
If you were of a cynical nature you'd perhaps assume this was the club trying to save face. After all, how can you miss out on someone you aren't interested in?
However, after going in heavy on the Dahoud interest through the summer months and beyond it's impossible to dismiss the interest now.
read more: Alternatives for Mahmoud Dahoud for Liverpool
People may believe the information is sometimes ‘leaked’ but it’s too much of a coincidence that all the journalists associated with Liverpool seem to have the same story on the same night with the same sort of wording. It’s a big game of Texas hold 'em and Liverpool don’t have a poker face.
There's a difference between gossip and a story. If one of Paul Joyce, Tony Barrett, Chris Bascombe or Melissa Reddy report something on Liverpool then it's usually the latter. These aforementioned journalists have reliable sources close to the club so fans pay attention to them.
It's telling that Pearce, Joyce and Barrett all reported the interest in the midfield maestro. There was genuine interest bringing him to Merseyside.
In a Q&A with This is Anfield, Paul Joyce (then of the Daily Express) claimed that midfield was an area that Klopp wanted to improve and that Dahoud was the “go-to man they are looking for”.
Tony Barrett, of Joe.co.uk, had this to say back in September: “Given they have spent much of this summer in talks with his agent, Reza Fazeli, over a new contract for Emre Can, whom he also represents, Liverpool remain in the box seat to sign Dahoud in the future.”
— Viktor Fagerström (@ViktorFagerLFC) September 1, 2016
Liverpool are planning to follow up their interest in Mahmoud Dahoud & Christian Pulisic in future transfer windows.
( James Pearce )
— LFC Round Up (@LFCroundup) September 1, 2016
‘There's no such thing as bad publicity'
Just how true is the clichéd phrase?
There’s no shame in missing out on players, it happens to all clubs, if anything it’s encouraging to see Liverpool linked to this calibre of player, but do they really have to make their interest quite so public all of the time?
Dahoud is the latest in a long list of targets the club have missed out on after publicly chasing them. It makes them look weak in the market and must damage their reputation going into negotiations with other players.
Desperation leads to reckless spending and that's something else Liverpool aren't strangers to.
An agent is going to be furiously rubbing his hands together if he gets a phone call from Liverpool days after the club miss out on their reported top target. Those £50,000-per-week demands suddenly jump to £65,000-per-week.
The Gladbach man joins Ousmane Dembele, Mario Gotze, Christian Pulisic. Alex Teixeira, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Alexis Sanchez, Willian, Mohammed Salah, Yehevn Konoplyanka, Gylfi Siguurdson and Clint Dempsey in the ‘what might have been' scrapheap of players Liverpool have failed to land after failing to keep their cards close to their chest.
Mkhitaryan was described as a prime target and Willian was the missing jigsaw piece. Yet neither ever wore the red of Liverpool.
Mario Gotze was a ‘top summer target' and Liverpool reportedly offered him £150,000-per-week as well as the chance to work alongside Klopp, the manager who helped turn him into the player he is, once again. In a report on Goal.com it was revealed that the club ‘threw the kitchen sink at the player' to land him and still failed. Instead he opted to return to Dortmund.
Regardless of your thoughts on these players the recruitment team at Anfield have failed to land, how many other clubs do you know who conduct their business so openly and yet fail to actually land the targets they’re so vocal about?
Manchester United missed out on Ander Herrera when David Moyes was in charge but returned 12 months later when Louis Van Gaal was at the helm and signed the Spanish midfielder. They righted that wrong by aggressively going after him and ensuring they landed him second time around.
The club need to realise that it’s pointless talking a good game, as if you can compete with the big boys, but then coming up short time and time again. It damages the brand. The club either need to stop prematurely announcing targets or go one step better by walking the walk and securing them.
Why Liverpool Should Pay Emre Can what he wants