Steven Gerrard Tried To Convince Two World Class Players To Join Liverpool During His Time At Anfield
Gerrard revealed that he attempted to woo both the Brazilian attacker and the German midfielder in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
Liverpool expressed an interest in signing Willian from Anzhi Makhachkala in 2013 with Premier League rivals Chelsea and Tottenham also keeping tabs on the player.
And in an extract from his autobiography, the former England captain explained how he was tasked with convincing transfer targets to join Liverpool.
Recalling his tactics for Willian, he wrote: "I followed the usual routine when approaching a star player we wanted to sign. Instead of calling him directly I always sent a text.
"It seemed more respectful and allowed the player to read my message at a time when it suited him best. A cold call felt wrong.
"I slipped into the groove with Willian. I said hello and hoped he didn't mind me contacting him directly. I stressed how much I admired him as a player and then, having mentioned that I knew Liverpool were speaking to his agent, I used the standard line: 'If you need to chat or ask any questions I'm available at any time.'
"It was the opening move in a familiar game. The reply came in and the same old conversation started. Willian thanked me and he said the usual, along the lines of, 'I'd love to play with you, Steven, blah-blah-blah, but there are other clubs who play in the Champions League I need to talk to as well.'
"I knew Spurs and Chelsea were also very keen on Willian. So I answered him and said, of course, I understood. But I then went in with my sales pitch. 'I think Liverpool would be a great move for you. The fans are amazing, the history is there and we're building a good team. You could do something great here - and we'd love to have you.'
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"I always tried to persuade with honesty and respect and never mentioned anything about the player's financial situation or the contract he could expect from Liverpool.
"The next text from Willian was so obvious I could have written it for him even before I read it. He again said that it would be great to play in the same team as me but 'I'm not sure Liverpool can give me the Champions League.' He went to Chelsea."
In 2014, Liverpool targetted an ambitious move for World Cup winner Kroos, who was under contract at Bayern Munich with Real Madrid eyeing him up.
Despite the unlikelihood of securing Kroos' services, then Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers asked Gerrard to work his magic.
About the dynamic midfielder, he added: "Our target in 2014 was ridiculously optimistic. Brendan asked me to take a crack at trying to talk Toni Kroos into signing for Liverpool. He smiled when I said we'd be p*****g into the wind with this one.
"We both admired Kroos immensely. I knew Real Madrid were gearing up to make Bayern Munich an offer and so I felt a bit awkward when I texted Kroos. The German was on his way to winning the World Cup with his country and Real were the champions of Europe. But God loves a trier, and so I gave it a whirl.
"Some of the best footballers in the world can also be the most respectful. Kroos didn't make me feel like I was a total idiot. But, of course, he would soon sign for Real Madrid. We had a nice little exchange of texts and I said well done and good luck."
Willian is still plying his trade in England's top flight. He's now with Arsenal after completing a switch this summer.
Kroos, meanwhile, remains a Real Madrid player, having enjoyed six trophy-laden seasons in Spain.
Featured Image Credit: PA/PA
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