Cristian Tello has become the second player in the span of 72 hours to confirm he had the option of joining Liverpool, following earlier comments from Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa.
One of Barcelona’s most highly rated youngsters, Tello says he turned down the chance to move to Anfield because he wants to build a career at Camp Nou, as quoted by Jack Wilson of the Daily Star:
I always wanted to stay here. The coach has confidence in me, I’m happy and ready to play.
I knew that Liverpool were interested in me, but I never thought about leaving.
Brendan Rodgers’ attempt to target a major piece of Barcelona’s future indicates how high he is aiming at Liverpool—still the most successful British club in the history of European Cup football.
The 22-year-old is an explosive winger, primarily used on the left flank despite a reliance on his right foot, and is a fan favourite among the Catalan crowd.
Rodgers’ failed bid for Tello eventually led to the loan capture of Victor Moses—another surprise transfer move, but the Liverpool manager could have been forgiven for setting his sights much lower, given that the Reds cannot offer any type of European football this season.
The same could be said for Atletico forward Costa, increasingly one the most dangerous attacking forces in La Liga. Rodgers made a £22 million move for the striker and almost succeeded, according to Costa in the Metro:
I had options to leave Atletico Madrid. I was very close to leaving—Liverpool is a great team.
I will stay at Atletico. I think it is important for me to continue growing here and playing here for many years to come.
Costa scored 20 goals in all competitions last term, and already has three league strikes in as many outings this season. He boasts a powerful 6'2" frame, has speed to burn, links play superbly with his back to goal and is a scorer of crucial goals.
Had Liverpool landed Costa—and by his own admission, they almost did—he would have been one of the signings of the summer.
Where past Liverpool managers have frittered huge amounts on the likes of Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing, Rodgers is looking around Europe for the top talents available.
In goal, he added arguably the standout Premier League keeper of the 2012/13 campaign in Simon Mignolet. Liverpool’s defence now boasts one of the most highly rated young defenders in Europe in Mamadou Sakho. Meanwhile, last year’s January addition Philippe Coutinho has become one of the most creative players in England.
Rodgers clearly wants more star quality to boost his attack, and Moses is an intelligent gap-filler. It bodes extremely well for Liverpool that it is players like Tello and Costa that Rodgers plans to bring to Anfield in the future.