Henderson to Fulham & Bale to Nottingham Forest? Ex-Liverpool director of football makes transfer claims

Goal.com

Damien Comolli admits to having survived two transfer scares during his time working as a director of football in England, with Tottenham coming close to agreeing a deal for Gareth Bale with Nottingham Forest before Liverpool then looked into offloading Jordan Henderson to Fulham.

The latter of those deals was mooted during the summer of 2012, a year after an England international midfielder had been taken to Anfield from Sunderland.

Comolli played a leading role in Henderson’s move to Merseyside, with the Frenchman always confident that there was potential to unlock in a player who has gone on to become a Champions League-winning captain for the Reds.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

He told ESPN of the 29-year-old, who has taken in 359 appearances for Liverpool: “We talk a lot about extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation.

“He's somebody who has got where he's got because his intrinsic motivation is off the charts. When I met him, that's what came across the most. This sheer desire to succeed, to improve every day, refusing to lose, refusing to give up an inch.

“I was convinced at the time that he hated losing more than he liked to win. I think the way he plays now, it shows - he walks onto the pitch thinking, ‘You're not going to beat me today’.”

Liverpool have benefitted from those qualities over the years, but only after coming close to sanctioning a switch elsewhere.

Comolli admits he was left less than amused when he discovered that discussions were being held with Fulham regarding a deal for Henderson, with Tottenham having previously threatened to part with current Real Madrid star Bale from under his nose back in 2009.

He said of the Cottagers talks: “I think I called his agent and said, 'What the hell are they doing here?'

“I was laughing at what I was hearing, that they were trying to sell him. I thought this is another Gareth Bale, when Harry Redknapp tried to sell him to Nottingham Forest.”

Having kept Henderson on their books, Liverpool went on to hand him their armband when the iconic figure of Steven Gerrard departed in 2015 for a spell in MLS with the LA Galaxy.

What to read next