Manchester City’s imminent big-money arrival Jeremy Doku once came close to joining Liverpool but snubbed the move following advice from Romelu Lukaku. Back during his time with Anderlecht when Doku was widely regarded as one of the brightest talents in Belgium, the Reds were in the market for a long-term replacement for Sadio Mane.
The youngster was even invited to take a look around Melwood ahead of a potential transfer in 2018.
He met with Jurgen Klopp and spent time talking with the likes of Simon Mignolet, Gini Wijnaldum and jet-heeled forward Mane, himself.
But the deal hit the rocks when Doku took time to assess his future and he was advised by Anderlecht icon Lukaku that his development would be best served in Brussels.
Doku was on the cusp of breaking into Anderlecht’s first team and if he moved to Merseyside, he would have to settle for a long stint in the academy.
The player’s parents David and Belinda previously told Belgian publication Nieuwsblad: “Lukaku advised Jeremy to first become a top player at Anderlecht.”
The winger has since claimed that while he took Lukaku’s advice on board, he was already in agreement over his future.
He added: “He advised me to stay, but from the beginning my goal was to stay. At least if Anderlecht was willing to make an effort, which they eventually did. My parents and my manager know this very well.
“My father wanted me to go to Liverpool and my mother too, but I said, ‘No, I want to stay’. For me that was the best path and it has always been in my head. I did listen to Romelu’s advice, but I make decisions about my future myself.”
Doku claims the decision was the toughest of his career as there were no guarantees he would get the chance to join another top club in the future.
However, the gamble has seemingly paid off as City are now on the cusp of signing the 21-year-old forward for a whopping £55m from Rennes.
The right-winger has been lined up as a potential replacement for Riyad Mahrez following his move to Al Ahli in Saudi Arabia.
The Belgian moved to Rennes in France in the summer of 2020 and he struck six times in 29 Ligue 1 outings last term.
Now he will be tasked with adding further quality to City’s frontline as the treble-winners seek to build on last season’s success.
Meanwhile, City’s deal to sign Lucas Paqueta from West Ham is now dead in the water.
The Premier League champions were close to agreeing an £80m deal in principle with West Ham but the FA are now investigating the Brazilian for alleged betting breaches.
It means the transfer is now off the cards with Paqueta set to stay in east London while a thorough investigation is conducted.