Liverpool missed out on £20m transfer deal because of Jurgen Klopp as Reds snub emerges
Liverpool lost out to Manchester City in the race for Ilkay Gundogan’s signature back in 2016 because the midfielder fancied a completely fresh start having previously played under Reds boss Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund. Gundogan swapped Signal Iduna Park for the Etihad that summer as Pep Guardiola secured the Germany international’s services in a £20m deal.
The 29-year-old has since added seven trophies to his collection, with back-to-back Premier League titles the highlight of a stellar spell in east Manchester.
City and Liverpool went toe-to-toe for top flight glory last season, with Guardiola’s men ultimately edging out Klopp’s side by a single point on the final day of the campaign.
Liverpool are set to have the last laugh this time around and Gundogan’s now revealed he could have signed for the runaway leaders instead of City three-and-a-half years ago.
However, the midfielder wasn’t interested in sealing a reunion with Klopp, under whom he won three trophies during their shared spell at Dortmund.
“I believe in challenges in life and I always try to challenge myself first of all,” Gundogan said.
“I feel like if I don’t challenge myself and get out of my comfort zone, I’m not going to change anything and won’t improve.
“So I had a great four years with Jurgen and I love him as a person and a manager, but I felt it was time for something else.
“I wanted to leave Dortmund in Dortmund and didn’t want to think about the time I had with him when I was joining a new club. That was a bit of the reason why I didn’t want to join Liverpool.”
Liverpool are 22 points clear of second-place City with 13 games of the season to go and are nigh-on certain to add Premier League glory to last year’s Champions League success.
Gundogan and City, meanwhile, are looking likely to have to make do with defending their domestic cups and have their first opportunity to do so next month.
Guardiola will test himself against Dean Smith and Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley on March 1.
City will take on Sheffield Wednesday in the fifth round of the FA Cup, while Liverpool were pitted against Chelsea after their youngsters came through a fourth-round replay against Shrewsbury.
Liverpool travel to City in the Premier League on April 4 – by which point the title race is expected to be mathematically over.