Liverpool‘s stellar attacking line has been one of the keys behind their success over the last couple of years, reaching two Champions League finals, winning one and adding the European Super Cup to their honours list, too.
It might even have looked a little stronger, though, had they got their way with one target a couple of years ago: Rodrygo Goes, the 18-year-old Brazilian who is now shining with Real Madrid.
The Spanish side agreed a deal with Rodrygo’s club Santos back in summer 2018, for a move the following year.
Now, just four months after joining, he already has a Champions League hat-trick for Los Blancos and scored his first league goal for the club just one minute after coming on as sub for his debut.
At least two years earlier, though, it was Liverpool who came calling.
Speaking to ESPN Brazil, former Manchester City attacking midfielder Elano – then the caretaker manager at Santos who called Rodrygo up to the first team - has explained how the Reds tried to negotiate a deal for the youngster.
“There was a period when there was very strong interest from Liverpool for him to leave when he was still at [the Academy] base,” Elano said.
“The values were very low, but they wanted to have a go. Real’s offer afterwards was around €30m more!
“I had a conversation with the staff and said the boy was worth the bet [to keep hold of] and we should raise him because I would like to work with him. Thankfully everything worked out for Rodrygo’s benefit!”
Elano’s words would suggest Liverpool tried to sign Rodrygo for around €10-15 million (£8-13m), given Real paid between €40-45 million for his signature.
The Reds would have been attempting to sign him in early 2017 at the latest, possibly before, as he debuted for Santos in November of that year.
Liverpool weren’t the only club aware of him even at that stage, of course; Barcelona thought they had a deal wrapped up for him after Real Madrid concluded a deal for Vinicius Jr, while Juventus were also credited with an interest.