Speaking in the serialisation of the new book ‘Intensity. Inside Liverpool FC. Our Identity’, Liverpool assistant coach Pepijn Lijnders has lifted the lid on how Luis Diaz was convinced to snub Spurs and join the Reds in January (via Express).
Diaz joined Liverpool on transfer deadline day for a fee which will rise to £49 million (Sky Sports). The Colombian, who had been the subject of continued interest from Spurs, chose instead to pen a five-and-a-half-year contract with Jurgen Klopp’s men (Sky Sports).
Lijnders has now revealed how he and Klopp managed to convince Diaz that Liverpool was the correct next step in his career.
He said (via Express): “I was on a skiing trip with my wife Danielle when, during dinner, our sporting director [Julian Ward] called me, ‘you and Jurgen have to speak with Luis Diaz in five minutes. We’ve just agreed with Porto but Tottenham are all-in as well’.
“I joined the call and Jurgen was explaining to Luis how he would fit into our style and that we would help him. He said in reference to me joining [the call], ‘But you will hear this guy much more often!’ To which I immediately said: ‘But I will explain things more calmly than Sergio [Conceicao, the Porto manager]!’
“I told him: ‘We want you desperately and have been pushing for the last one-and-a-half months with our owners and our sporting director, but you know that these kinds of transfers are not easy to accomplish.
“‘The good thing is you will train with Virgil, Robbo and Trent and they will make you so much stronger. Our idea is to create and score; you will have to tear these guys apart each day in training, which will make you better’.
“His agent translated Jurgen’s message and Julian Ward said: ‘These two will make you a better player’.
“I told him there were not many clubs with more history and culture than Porto but Liverpool was one of them and he would feel this.
“Julian then walked with his phone to the trophy cabinet at AXA and finished with: ‘We want to add to this and that’s why we want you.’
“If the boy wasn’t convinced, he would be now. What started as a bad adventure on the slopes ended with an incredible signing. We signed the one we wanted.
“My crazy day couldn’t have ended better. Would he be the difference-maker for the rest of this season? We hoped so.”
Spurs Web Opinion
With Sadio Mane leaving Anfield for Bayern Munich, I think Diaz will push on this season with his new club after an impressive first six months.
In hindsight, Spurs’ failed attempt to sign the player has worked well for all parties. With Dejan Kulusevski being brought in to play on the right of Antonio Conte’s front three, the Lilywhites’ attack has never looked more balanced.
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