You might recall that Nabil Fekir was once destined to become a Liverpool player.
A deal, worth around €60m, was all but agreed in June 2018, subject to the successful completion of a medical.
Negotiations were so far advanced in fact that Fekir was already being photographed in his new Liverpool kit ahead of an impending press release. But that day never came, as Fekir’s medical indicated he had a long-standing knee problem. The Reds pulled the plug on a move and, instead, he rocked up at Real Betis 12 months later for a third of the price negotiated on Merseyside.
Fekir’s move to Los Verdiblancos hasn’t quelled speculation that he might one day join a big club, however. Real Madrid and Barcelona are supposedly interested in doing a deal, and the player himself – obviously – is keen to pursue those possibilities.
But maybe, just maybe, his future lies in England.
Soon, we’re likely to have a new ‘big club’ rocking the European apple cart, in the shape of prospective money bags Newcastle. Yes, the Magpies are finally set to be freed from the clutches of Mike Ashley, into the rather wealthier hands on Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund – and big-name transfer targets are the order of the day.
Philippe Coutinho, Edinson Cavani and even Kylian Mbappé have unbelievably been mentioned in dispatches, but now the spotlight is on Fekir – from Spanish daily AS (via Sport Witness) at least – as they report that Newcastle have ‘already taken an interest’ in the attacking midfielder.
In terms of the finances of a deal for Fekir, AS go on to state that Betis would want ‘at least’ €50m for the 26-year-old, namedropping AC Milan and Arsenal as fellow interested parties. There is no indication though, obviously, that anybody has any interest in paying that amount.
Fekir harbours hopes of playing in the big time – that’s the Champions League and maybe the Europa League to you and I – and Newcastle, as it stands, can’t offer that. But with significant investment in the playing squad more likely, we could have another Manchester City success story waiting in the wings.
Lord knows the Geordie faithful would love to see success brought to the north east, and this level of transfer ambition – admittedly it’s just rumour at this stage – could indicate that the club are prepared to spend big to get it.
In truth, they’ll need plenty more signings like Fekir to have any chance of competing, but you’ve got to start somewhere – just ask the guys dressed in Manchester blue.
As to whether or not he’ll join, it’s unlikely. Fekir is confident that biding his time at Betis will eventually pay dividends and a bigger club, in the mould of Real and Barça, will swoop in. Never say never though…