Atletico Madrid defender Toby Alderweireld has hinted Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois convinced him to move to the Spanish club.
Liverpool were linked with the former Ajax man throughout the summer who has revealed that Brendan Rodgers’ team tried to sign him close to the close of the summer transfer window.
The Belgian has since questioned whether Liverpool were all that serious about signing him which is why he jumped at the chance to link up with the Spanish team based on Courtois’ words of advice.
“The club have been following me now for two or three weeks, and you could see they really wanted me - Liverpool, for example, appeared in the last few days, but the truth is that Atletico made a huge effort to convince me,” said Alderweireld.
His frustration towards Liverpool is understandable considering the size of the Reds as a football club and the fact they have one of the best setups in Europe for younger players.
Any young player going into the current Liverpool side would benefit both technically and mentally from playing at Anfield and that’s a reason why the Belgian may harbour some resentment towards Liverpool not making more of an effort to get him.
Had Liverpool shown urgency in going after him rather than making a simple late effort to sign him, then he could well have chosen them ahead of any other side. The fact remains Liverpool had the entire summer to sign him and could have gone in with an approach when rumblings that he was first available started to appear.
His frustration is also understandable because it’s possible that Liverpool only made a late enquiry because they held a little bit of doubt over possible deals for Tiago Ilori and Mamadou Sakho, seeing Alderweireld as back up in case neither deal went through.
In that case it’s clear that he may have got the impression that Liverpool were not all that serious about signing him and planting him in the centre of the back four to play alongside Daniel Agger or any other player for the rest of the season.
The highly rated 23-year-old is one of the best Belgian defensive prospects around at the moment, full of ambition and clearly not the sort of professional who would settle for being a second choice player at any club whether that’s Ajax, Liverpool, Atletico Madrid or Barcelona.
“Courtois is naturally very happy with my arrival. In the end I am coming to 'his Atletico'. He said positive things to me as I was studying the offer. He said it was a club with great fans and that he was very happy playing at the Calderon,” added Alderweireld.
Liverpool could have done the deal but whether they will regret it can only be judged at the end of the season when the success or failure for Brendan Rodgers’ side and Atletico Madrid is clearer.
Did Liverpool get better defenders in Ilori and Sakho?
image: © Ruud Schobbers