You might recall a time when Jérémy Doku was a name often associated with Liverpool.
We covered it a number of times, but despite all the efforts of those in charge at Anfield to get a deal over the line, the young forward stayed at Anderlecht, where he has remained to this day.
The excitement around his potential hasn’t dwindled, but he’s at a club where he plays regular first-team football, which might not have been the case had he succumbed to the appealing option of moving to Liverpool.
Making his debut for the Jupiler Pro League club in 2018, the 18-year-old has since featured 32 times, scoring five goals and assisting another four.
Speaking to Sport/Foot in Belgium, Doku finally opened up about Liverpool’s efforts to sign him, and they are quite impressive to say the least.
He said: “It was crazy, really. I was only 15. They invited me with my parents. They made me visit everything. The stadium, the training complex, and we were welcomed by the top. Sadio Mané came to talk to me, Jürgen Klopp was interested by me”.
Asked if he felt this was all a tactic to pressure him into accepting the move, he explained: “It’s very possible. Conveniently, we went to the training complex when the players were eating. They allowed us in the restaurant and everyone was there. Steven Gerrard took me aside and he showed me videos… of me.
“He had a lot of them. He commented them to me: ‘What you do here, we like that a lot’, and a lot of things like that. If I’d accepted, I’d have had him as my manager with the youth. For a while, with my parents, we spoke about Chelsea. The Liverpool people immediately clocked it, and they thought we were in talks with Chelsea, but no, it’s the name of one of my sisters”.
As for his decision to stay at Anderlecht, he said: “If I’d accepted their offer, I may have been in the first-team by now, but maybe not. What I know is that I’m now playing with Anderlecht. People from my block told me to go, they told me I might not have another opportunity. I see things differently. If Liverpool want me at 15 and I confirm with the pros, Liverpool will come back later.
“There were other interested clubs. We also visited Arsenal and Ajax. My parents were encouraging me to go. It was my decision to stay. I wasn’t ready. I wanted to continue enjoying myself, to play with my friends”.