Watford star Ismaila Sarr almost left the club in January. The Hornets main focus was on finding replacements for expected departures in the January transfer window. The departure of Etienne Capoue and Gerard Deulofeu disappointed fans but were inevitable.
Although Sarr’s departure rumours will never stop, they were not strong in January like they were in the summer. However, a recent interview suggests such a departure was much closer to happening than many people realise.
Liverpool Nearly Signed Ismaila Sarr in January
Ismaila Sarr Almost Headed to Merseyside
Liverpool, whose fans know Sarr all too well from ruining their invincible season by scoring twice in the memorable 3-0 defeat against Watford, nearly secured his signature in January. The Athletic reported of initial interest, and a £45 million price-tag, during the summer transfer window. After negotiations became difficult, the Reds signed Diogo Jota as an attacking option instead.
This season, Sarr has five goals and two assists in the Championship (and drawn four penalties). Despite not exceeding expectations, his value and interest have not decreased.
Ismaila Sarr’s Agent Speaks Out
Sarr’s agent, Theirno Seydi, spoke to Panafricanfootball. Seydi explained: “With Liverpool, a few days ago, we were at the stage of signing the contract that would tie the Reds to Ismaïla Sarr. Everything was sorted: the monthly wages and the length of the deal. I’d even asked Sadio Mane to find him an apartment.”
Mane and Sarr’s relationship is widely known. The two pacey wingers are teammates on Senegal’s increasingly-talented international team. Mane even warned Andy Robertson of Watford’s 30-million-pound signing after he signed in 2019.
As explained by Seydi, Sarr and Liverpool agreed-upon personal terms. If it were not for the financial climate of the transfer window, then the Reds likely would have gotten their attacking target.
“But it, in the end, the English club weren’t able to put the €40 million on the table to finalise the affair,” he added. “You have to say that if English clubs that once animated the transfer window are struggling to put funds together, that shows the depth of the crisis affecting football.”
Considering Watford’s goal-scoring record this season has been underwhelming, losing Sarr would have been borderline catastrophic. The working of this transfer behind the scenes also explains Watford’s choice to sign Philip Zinckernagel who, like Sarr, is a right-winger.