One year ago, Lyon forward Nabil Fekir was reportedly on the brink of a move to Liverpool from somewhere in the vicinity of $65 million. Now, he’s gone for around a third of that price.
Fekir has reportedly completed a transfer to Spanish side Real Betis for a reported $22 million plus add-ons, proving just how far a contract dispute and bad knee can torpedo a player’s value on the open market.
The 26-year-old came incredibly close to a switch to Anfield last summer worth somewhere in the vicinity of $65, with his now ex-agent stating that Fekir had even completed photos in a Liverpool jersey and passed a medical. Yet he never completed the transfer, as the Reds pulled out of the deal at the last minute for unknown reasons, thought to be potentially related to lingering effects from an ACL tear suffered early in the 2015/16 season.
Now, with one year left on his Lyon contract and a refusal to sign a new deal, the French club had no choice but to find a suitor, leaving Real Betis in a solid negotiating position and Lyon in no position to haggle.
The reports state Fekir’s cut-rate deal does come with a bit of a bright side for Lyon, as the add-ons are reportedly significant – up to $12 million worth – and the Ligue 1 side maintains a sell-on clause of around 20% should Fekir be moved by Betis. Still, the loss in value is significant from one summer to the next.
A dip in form could also be a contributing factor in the drop in value. While it’s not like the French international put up bad numbers last season – nine goals and seven assists to his name in 29 Ligue 1 appearances – it represented a serious step back from the 18 goals he racked up two seasons ago before piquing Liverpool’s interest.
For Betis, Fekir’s arrival represents an important replacement for Giovani Lo Celso who is rumored to be on his way out, with interest from Tottenham.