Liverpool beat Man Utd and Real Madrid to sign 18-year-old midfielder Stefan Bajcetic from Celta Vigo, according to the Spanish side’s academy director.
The teenager progressed through the ranks at the La Liga outfit but he signed for Liverpool at the end of 2020.
Bajcetic has made his first team breakthrough this season and he has slotted in seamlessly for Liverpool. They have been underperforming this term but he has been one of their shining lights.
Earlier this week, the midfielder was rewarded with a new four-year contract so he will not be leaving the Premier League club for quite a while.
Celta Vigo academy director Alex Otero has now revealed that Man Utd and Real Madrid were also keen to sign Bajcetic, but the player’s father felt that the “only option” was Liverpool.
Ortero also noted that Real Madrid “went crazy” when they found out that the youngster had opted to sign for Liverpool.
“Manchester United, Liverpool and Real Madrid called him, but for his father, the only option was Liverpool in this case,” Otero told Liverpool Echo.
“You need to feel something, Real Madrid and Barcelona you can just be another player. Liverpool wanted Stefan and not just any player from Celta Vigo.
“His dad was confident Stefan would make a career in England and they never doubted Liverpool. In the first moment, it was never ‘Oh Manchester United, Manchester United.’ Liverpool appeared and they both only had eyes for Liverpool.
“At that moment he was not the best player in the Galicia team, he was a very good player but not the best. It’s a very good message I think for the rest of the world because players, fathers and agents sometimes get carried away at under-14s, 15s and 16s when clubs like Real Madrid are interested. Sometimes it’s not the best [players] who get the chance to play for teams like Liverpool.
“Stefan and his father, I think, decided in Spain it was always to play for Celta Vigo because there are more opportunities in the first team than Real Madrid or Barcelona.
“They told me if they stay in Spain it would be Celta, if it was outside of Spain then it was Liverpool. When Real Madrid found out that Liverpool wanted to come and contact Stefan they went crazy: ‘Stefan, oh no, come here!’”
Ortero thinks Bajcetic has “incredible” qualities and that he is “better suited to the Premier League”.
“For me, Stefan is a player that is better suited to the Premier League than La Liga. In Spain, it’s very slow but the Premier League is very fast-paced, end-to-end and with a higher intensity that suits Stefan’s conditions,” Otero added.
“His legs are incredible, the capacity he has to turn and explode away from the opponents. His first, second and third touches in small situations too are incredible.”
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