Pep Lijnders cut short holiday to help Liverpool beat Tottenham to Luis Diaz transfer

·2-min read
Luis Diaz proved a huge signing for Liverpool after they beat Tottenham to the Colombia star  (Getty Images)
Luis Diaz proved a huge signing for Liverpool after they beat Tottenham to the Colombia star (Getty Images)

Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders has revealed he cut short his holiday during the January transfer window to help the club beat Tottenham to the signing of Luis Diaz.

Spurs chased a deal for the then-Porto forward earlier this year and saw an opening bid rejected before Jurgen Klopp’s side landed the Colombian international.

While the successful signing of Dejan Kuluesvki softened the blow for Antonio Conte, Diaz had a major impact himself upon his move to the Premier League, scoring four times and registering three assists in 13 appearances.

Decision-makers at Spurs have since backed Conte heavily this summer but the Diaz saga came during a difficult run of things for the club, who also missed out on the signing of Adama Traore.

Clearly, things have improved since the end of the season with Tottenham overseeing an ambitious summer recruitment drive, though few would missing out on a player of Diaz’s quality was a blow.

“I was on a skiing trip with my wife Danielle when, during dinner, our sporting director called me: ‘You and Jürgen have to speak with Luis Diaz in five minutes. We’ve just agreed with Porto but Tottenham are all-in as well,” wrote Lijnders in his new book ‘Intensity’.

“I joined the call and Jürgen 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]!’ To which Luis laughed.

“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.

Dejan Kulusevksi impressed after signing for Tottenham as a Luis Diaz alternative (AFP via Getty Images)
Dejan Kulusevksi impressed after signing for Tottenham as a Luis Diaz alternative (AFP via Getty Images)

“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 Jürgen’s message and [sporting director] 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 (training centre) 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.”

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