Liverpool have completed the first part of their summer midfield rebuild by signing Alexis Mac Allister from Brighton for an eye-catching £35m.
The Argentina World Cup winner has signed a five-year contract having spent two days undergoing a medical. He is the first arrival in a likely hectic transfer window at Anfield, having been identified as a key target before flourishing in Qatar.
Liverpool have not disclosed the fee but it is understood to be £35m. The price represents a coup but meets the release clause in the contract Mac Allister signed with Brighton before the World Cup. That extension avoided him becoming a free agent at the end of this month.
At 24 and with 160 first-team appearances, Mac Allister fits Liverpool’s criteria for the ideal target. Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Diogo Jota were similar in age and experience when moving to Merseyside. Mac Allister’s fight to establish himself as an elite player for club and country, along with his ability to play in various midfield roles and his game intelligence, were also part of the appeal.
“It’s a dream come true, it’s amazing to be here and I can’t wait to get started,” said Mac Allister, who will get the No 10 shirt. “Since I won the World Cup I said that I want to win more trophies and I think that this club will help me to do that.”
Liverpool moved swiftly to secure Mac Allister after he attracted widespread interest after the World Cup, where he gradually established himself as a key component in the world champions’ team. The groundwork and execution of the deal was led by Liverpool’s former sporting director Julian Ward, who has since been replaced by Jörg Schmadtke.
The club’s longstanding relationship with Mac Allister’s agent, Juan Gemelli, who was involved in bringing Philippe Coutinho to Liverpool from Internazionale in 2013, also helped the transfer proceed smoothly and quickly.
Mac Allister, who made clear he wanted to work with Klopp, will not be the last Liverpool midfield recruit. Manu Koné, the 22-year-old Borussia Mönchengladbach midfielder, and Khéphren Thuram, who is also 22 and plays for Nice, are of interest. Liverpool are not expected to follow up initial interest in Chelsea’s Mason Mount having got Mac Allister over the line.
Klopp described Mac Allister as “very talented, very smart, very technically skilled” and said: “I have watched him grow from a young boy coming into the Premier League to a man who helped his country win the World Cup. That is quite a journey.” – Guardian