Back in 2017, Julian Brandt had the opportunity to join Liverpool, but he ultimately turned down the offer.
The German midfielder has now revealed that one of the reasons for his decision was the presence of Mohamed Salah on Liverpool's radar. Brandt, who eventually signed for Borussia Dortmund in 2019, has expressed his regret at not playing under Jürgen Klopp and admitted that he would have loved to be part of the Reds manager's team.
At the time, Brandt explained that he felt the timing wasn't right for him to make a move to a bigger club. He believed that moving to a side like Liverpool a year before the World Cup would require time to settle and potentially result in playing fewer games.
Brandt also had his sights set on securing a place in Germany's squad for the 2018 World Cup. Ultimately, he chose to stay at Bayer Leverkusen.
“My gut feeling and my head are telling me the time to move has not arrived yet,” Brandt explained to Kicker at the time, via ESPN. “I have to straighten things out in Leverkusen.
“Of course there are players who say a year without European football before the World Cup is good reason to move. But if you move to a bigger club a year before the World Cup, you risk taking time at first to settle which possibly means playing fewer games.”
Reflecting on Liverpool's interest in him in a new interview, Brandt admitted that Salah's presence as a target for the Reds influenced his decision. He told The Athletic: "I had that chance to take that next step to join Liverpool, but the time wasn't right for me. I was aware that they were also looking at Mo Salah at the time. It's a shame because I would have loved to play for Kloppo."
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While Brandt — who then moved to Borussia Dortmund for $28m (£22m/€26m) — may have some reservations about his decision now, Liverpool certainly doesn't regret signing Salah instead. Since joining the Reds, Salah has become an undisputed club legend and has helped the team achieve remarkable success.
It's impossible to know how things would have turned out if Brandt had joined Liverpool instead of Salah. However, it's clear that Salah's impact on the team has been hugely significant.
Brandt's caution about his potential World Cup hopes proved to be justified as he was included in the Germany squad for the 2018 tournament. Although Germany suffered a shocking group-stage exit, Brandt made three late substitute appearances.
Despite his regret over not playing for Klopp, Brandt stands by his decision to reject the Liverpool manager's advances in 2013 when Klopp was still at Dortmund. He believed that moving to Leverkusen would offer him more game-time opportunities, saying: “I was a little in awe of them. I thought, ‘Will I get enough game time? Maybe it’s better to move to Leverkusen.’”
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