Steven Gerrard has revealed in his new autobiography that he tried to convince Willian and Toni Kroos to join Liverpool.
Writing in ‘My Story’ - which is currently being serialised by the Daily Mail - Gerrard claims he had an unofficial role at the club: to help Liverpool attract big-name stars to Anfield.
Brendan Rodgers was keen for Gerrard to have a quiet word with Willian and Kroos - who were with Anzhi Makhachkala and Bayern Munich, respectively, at the time - but the Reds ultimately failed with both transfer pursuits. Gerrard, in his new book, explains why.
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“In 2013, the latest player in our sights was Willian, the Brazilian midfielder,” Gerrard writes. “I followed the usual routine when approaching a star player we wanted to sign. Instead of calling him directly I always sent a text.
“Willian thanked me and he said the usual, along the lines of, ‘I’d love to play with you, Steven, blah-blah-blah, but there are other clubs who play in the Champions League I need to talk to as well.’
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“The next text from Willian was so obvious I could have written it for him even before I read it. He again said that it would be great to play in the same team as me but ‘I’m not sure Liverpool can give me the Champions League.’ He went to Chelsea.”
Gerrard: Kroos pursuit was 'optimistic'
On Kroos, Gerrard believes Rodgers was being “ridiculously optimistic”. But it was common knowledge at the time that the Germany international was keen to leave the Allianz Arena, with Manchester United actively pursuing his signature before he opted to join Real Madrid.
“Brendan asked me to take a crack at trying to talk Toni Kroos into signing for Liverpool. He smiled when I said we’d be p*****g into the wind with this one,” Gerrard adds. “We both admired Kroos immensely.
“I knew Real Madrid were gearing up to make Bayern Munich an offer and so I felt a bit awkward when I texted Kroos. The German was on his way to winning the World Cup with his country and Real were the champions of Europe. But God loves a trier, and so I gave it a whirl.
“Some of the best footballers in the world can also be the most respectful. Kroos didn’t make me feel like I was a total idiot. But, of course, he would soon sign for Real Madrid. We had a nice little exchange of texts and I said well done and good luck.”
Liverpool may struggle to attract stars without Gerrard
Getting Gerrard to contact transfer targets was a smart move by Rodgers, who would have been acutely aware that the former Liverpool and England captain is held in high esteem across the world.
The best footballers who have played alongside Gerrard over the years - including the likes of Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres - have nothing but praise for the Liverpool legend who left Anfield at the end of last season.
Rodgers may have been a little over ambitious with some of his transfer targets - such as Kroos, as Gerrard admits - but if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Liverpool fans: do you believe your club can still attract top-class players now Steven Gerrard has left Anfield? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!
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