Rennes wonderkid Jeremy Doku has explained why he turned down a move to Liverpool following a chat with Sadio Mane back in 2018.
Doku, 18, made his senior debut for Anderlect in 2018, before completing a stunning £22 million move to Ligue 1, per Goal.
Doku is a serious talent, to say the least. When Kevin de Bruyne is gushing about your prospects, you know you’re doing something right
And after Doku marked his second appearance for the Belgian national team with a stunning goal in the 5-1 thrashing of Iceland, Manchester City talisman De Bruyne couldn’t contain himself when discussing the unlimited potential of the talent he lauded as a ‘diamond in the rough’.
Doku reportedly rejected advances from a number of Premier League suitors in favour of moving to Roazhon Park, including English champions Liverpool, after Doku was given some career advice following discussions with Mane.
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Doku on Liverpool and Mane
“I was going to be 16 and that was the age you can sign a pro contract. A lot of teams came to see me,” Doku said, per Ouest-France. “Everyone talks about Liverpool because it was the most concrete interest but there was also Arsenal and Chelsea.
“I was able to discuss with Jurgen [Klopp], Mane, [Georginio] Wijnaldum… [Steven] Gerrard too. I talked a lot with Mane but we didn’t really talk about football. We talked about everything.
“He told me that I was young, that I still had time… he wasn’t trying to convince me or to say to me ‘come here, you will succeed’.
“I preferred to be careful. I know what my trajectory had to be. That’s why, at 15, I told myself it had become serious, because I’d seen my career. I know what route I needed to take and I knew at that moment I needed to stay at Anderlecht.
“As soon as I’m asked if I regret it, I always say no, because if Liverpool came to me at 15, if they like me, they’ll come back later, that’s certain. It’s up to me to be play well.”
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Indeed, Doku’s decision to resist the temptation of a switch to Merseyside looks to have been a beneficial one.
This is certainly the case in terms of minutes on the pitch. The five-time Belgium international, after all, has clocked up 24 league appearances this term – 21 of which were starts.
He’s also been granted invaluable experience in this season’s Champions League campaign, featuring against the likes of Chelsea and Sevilla.
The former Anderlect star almost certainly wouldn’t have been granted such a luxury at Anfield, especially with the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino at Jurgen Klopp’s disposal.
However, as Doku previously eluded to, if Liverpool have showcased interest before, the likelihood is that the Reds will be monitoring the teenager’s development with interest ahead of a potential future move.