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“I wanted to join them”- Croatian star opens up on failed Liverpool transfer last year

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Croatian international Duje Caleta-Car opens up on failed Liverpool switch

Southampton’s Croatian centre-back Duje Caleta-Car almost completed a move to Liverpool in January 2021. The 26-year-old, at Marseille at the time, almost made the switch to Merseyside, but the move fell through.

At that time, most Liverpool centre-backs sat out with injury issues. Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez, all were sidelined and the Reds’ were forced to field youngsters Nathaniel Phillips and Rhys Williams at the back.

Jurgen Klopp and co eventually signed Ben Davies from Preston North End and Ozan Kabak on loan from Schalke 04 in the 2021 January transfer window. Caleta-Car missed out but eventually made the move to the Premier League, joining Southampton earlier this year.

Croatian international Duje Caleta-Car opens up on failed Liverpool switch. (imago Images)
Duje Caleta-Car in action for Marseille. (imago Images)

Speaking of his failed move to Liverpool in January 2021, here is what Caleta-Car had to say to HampshireLive (h/t Liverpool Echo):

“But it didn’t happen. There was something between Marseille and Liverpool but I don’t want to go into what happened. But now I’m here [at Southampton] and really enjoying it here in England. We play against Liverpool now so it’ll be a good test.”

The 26-year-old could have been a good asset for the Reds given his age. 25 at the time of the expected move, Joe Gomez alongside Caleta-Car could be the future of the Reds’ backline. One would wonder that in case the Reds had the Croatian on their books back then, the signing of Ibrahima Konate would not have been possible.

Back in 2021 though, the speculated deal went through extremely quickly and Marseille had to back out of the deal as it was too late in the transfer window and they would have had it tough to sign a back-to-back replacement for one of their best players at that time.

Croatian international Duje Caleta-Car opens up on failed Liverpool switch.
Southampton’s Croatian defender Duje Caleta-Car. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

Nevertheless, since that dreaded time of the 2020/21 season, wherein injuries were a norm at Merseyside, the club has gone from strength to strength and had a pretty strong 2021/22 season. Presently though, Liverpool have had it tough to carry their form in the league this season and the injuries are in midfield this time instead of the defenders.

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The former Marseille centre-back is in contention to face the Reds this weekend when Southampton play Liverpool at Anfield. Post that, the league will take a break for the World Cup wherein Caleta-Car is expected to play a major role at the back for Croatia.