Why Liverpool canceled the £ 38m transfer – and how they proved themselves right

There won’t be too many Liverpool fans who have reason to complain about the club’s transfer policy in recent years.

Indeed, the success rate of their employment during Jurgen Klopp’s tenure was almost perfect. The German trusted his backdoor team, scouts and analysts to make the right calls, and they did so over and over again.

The money set aside to bring Mohamed Salah to Anfield from AS Roma looks like a real offer of today’s money. This was followed by the extremely clever purchase of Andy Robertson, who under Klopp’s supervision became one of the best left-backs in Europe.

There were times when Liverpool’s fan base had to be patient when it seemed like the club was thinking differently from the consensus of fans; an example that comes to mind is the £ 34 million handed to Southampton for Sadie Mane. It then turned out that Mario Gotze could not reach an agreement – it was ultimately proven that Klopp was correct.

Brazilian striker Alex Teixeira is another example of just that.

Alex Teixeira in action during the 2019 Chinese Super League match between Hebei China Fortune and Jiangsu Suningi

Liverpool did not want to spend £ 38 million on the striker in January 2016, despite the fact that the then 26-year-old had already made it clear to his club Shakhtar Donetsk from Donetsk that he wanted to move to the Premier League.

That price was not considered good value, so Klopp and Liverpool pulled the plug.

Weeks later, with a January transfer window and Liverpool moving away from the deal, Teixeira replaced Ukraine with China, signing with Jiangsu Suning for an Asian record fee of around € 50 million, a figure Liverpool were reluctant to approach.

Today, Teixeira, 31, is without a club that has ended a five-season stay in CSL.

An analysis of Anafield’s podcast last year discussed why Liverpool recognized the Brazilian as someone who would be a good acquisition for the right price, as well as how the Reds ’tactics could have changed had he arrived.

When David Hughes started: “To gain a feel for a player who was in Ukraine at the time, Teixeira scored 26 times in the middle of the season – something like 0.93 goals in the 90s.

“It’s funny because he wasn’t an attacker.

“The caveat is that the standard is not as high as the Premier League, but it is still a really large number.

“He seemed to play as number 10 in the 4-2-3-1 score and he played that attacking midfield role.

“Maybe he would be used as a ten, with Philippe Coutinho on the left – only in those two there are a lot of goals.

“Certainly 4-2-3-1 was definitely an idea in the early stages under Klopp and I think you start to see that interest in 4-3-3 only later.”

Teixeira turned 31 in January this year, and with some discussion about the age of Liverpool’s current front line, who are all in their late 20s, that to some extent raises the question of its suitability as well.

In 2016, Liverpool made an offer for Alex Teixeira

If the current front line needed renewal, then Teixeira – at another time – would surely hasten that plan.

Josh Williams added: “He plays on the left, but he is two-legged, and that may affect why Liverpool were interested in him.

“The man we ended up getting in Mane is also relatively two-legged and can play on both sides, so maybe that’s what came about.

“At one point he scored 22 goals and made 15 assists in 15 appearances.

“There have been a few penalty kicks, but it’s a goal or an assist every 54 minutes.

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“Teixeira was basically targeted as a striker with an exit – someone who can deliver no matter where he plays.”

Teixeira started at the Rio de Janeiro Vasco da Gama club, like Coutinho, before moving to Europe.

And if Klopp’s initial plan had been completed, the two could have been side by side at Anfield.

Williams concluded: “I don’t think the focus was on where he would play – it was just a case of scoring goals.

“The season before, Teixeira scored 17 goals in 22 top games in Ukraine, so he was obviously a scorer, even though he was not a center forward.

“Soon after, he moved to China, and that’s not such a good sign for me, at least.

Alex Teixeira from Jiangsu Suning waves at the airport
Alex Teixeira from Jiangsu Suning waves at the airport

“It suggests that the player – and we are all to some extent – is motivated by money rather than the prospect of improving and achieving his maximum performance.

“But I’m interested in how the tactical lineup would have changed if we had signed it, but we would have a whole three Brazilians.”

Instead, Liverpool have a front line, including Salah, Mane and Robert Firmin, so few will be disappointed.

Since Coutinho left and did not return, Firmino is the only member of that projected Brazilian trio that still exists.

Football history often depends on sliding door moments, and the omission of Teixeira paving the way to signing with Mane was certainly one of those that paid off.

This article was originally published in April 2020.