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Nabil Fekir reaches agreement with Lyon to reopen Liverpool talks after World Cup

Fekir has made it clear to his employers that he still wants to seal a dream move to Anfield

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Nabil Fekir reaches agreement with Lyon to reopen Liverpool talks after World Cup

Fekir has made it clear to his employers that he still wants to seal a dream move to Anfield

12 July 2018 Thursday 12:52
Nabil Fekir reaches agreement with Lyon to reopen Liverpool talks after World Cup

Nabil Fekir has made clear to Lyon's owner he STILL wants a move to Liverpool.

And we understand the France star, who will appear in the World Cup final on Sunday, has reached an agreement that Jean Michel Aulas will at least reopen talks with the Reds to explore the prospect of resurrecting his “dream” move.

Fekir has actually met twice with Lyon chief Aulas during this World Cup, the latest after Les Blues' dramatic semi final victory over Belgium when the French owner – who is influential within the FFF - went into the dressing room to join celebrating players.

He has held sit down talks with the talented midfielder and his advisor Jean-Pierre Bernes to discuss the collapsed move to Anfield, which faltered on medical details, after a £53m deal had been agreed.

Aulas claimed to have pulled the plug on the move him, suggesting Fekir passed the medical and that Liverpool were simply taking too long to complete, but the reality was that an issue with the medical – and a second opinion – made the English club hesitate.

As it stands Liverpool will NOT return to the table if any deal remains on the terms originally agreed, when the deal had gone so far that Fekir was even pictured in Liverpool kit and conducted interviews for the club's TV channel.

But we understand they would be prepared to listen if Aulas were to propose a restructuring of terms, and that wouldn't even necessarily mean a reduction in the fee.

The issue is with surgery the 21-year-old had to repair anterior cruciate ligament damage.

It is understood he had a graft to repair the damage, and while the operation was a success and he returned to playing, there are concerns about potential longer term issues.

A restructuring meaning the fee was paid over the full length of his contract – which was agreed at five years on around £120,000 a week – and not up front could work, depending on his continuing fitness.

Fekir's advisors are aware of Liverpool's position, and they have made very clear to the Lyon president the player still wants a move.

Aulas is a canny negotiator, and has a reputation for being one of the toughest people in football to deal with.

He made Chelsea wait for three months to sign Michael Essien, more than doubling the price, and did the same with Florent Malouda.

He got a record fee from Real Madrid for Karim Benzema and made the sale of Hugo Lloris drag out until minutes before the transfer deadline in 2012.

A similar scenario developed in talks with Arsenal over the sale of Alexandre Lacazette, where he squeezed more than £50m out of the Gunners.

But crucially, he has already shifted his position over Fekir, first saying he would sell the player to Real Madrid, then Manchester United, before suggesting this week the midfielder could stay at Lyon.

In reality, he is positioning to get as much as the originally agreed £53m from Liverpool as possible, but has conceded that he will talk once more, to allow Fekir what even the president admitted was the player's dream move.

And we can reveal that Lyon have been in talks with a possible replacement, with the French club linked strongly to Hakim Ziyech, with his club Ajax thought to currently be in talks over a potential £20m move.

Aulas revealed this week that he held talks with two players when he visited Russia during the World Cup, both of whom have now departed the tournament, though he insisted he still hasn't agreed a fee for either player.

“We were allowed to speak with the two players at World Cup because their countries were relaxed about it, but nothing is completed yet,” Aulas explained.

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Ziyech would be a direct replacement for Fekir, and it is unlikely he would announce any deal for the Morocco star until he had tied down an agreement with Liverpool.

Interestingly, the midfielder's club Ajax have confirmed he has a deal in place to leave Holland but so far has not announced the transfer, even though the transfer window is now open.

Roma have also been in talks, but their director of football Monchi said this week a deal was now unlikely.

Aulas has accepted the need to talk further, admitting to the player and his agent in their two meetings that he wants him to achieve his dream move and will negotiate further – though on Lyon's terms.

Talks will NOT take place until after the World Cup final, but there is now a real prospect they will be resurrected, and if Aulas is prepared to compromise over the structure of the deal, then the transfer can still be done.

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