Former Argentina manager Alfio Basile has challenged Jurgen Klopp’s decision to sign Luis Diaz last month by suggesting the 24-year-old is not good enough to play for a club of Liverpool’s stature. The Reds moved quickly to snap up the Colombian winger from Porto last month after initially earmarking him as a priority target for the summer transfer window ahead of next season.
Diaz scored 16 goals for Porto in all competitions between the start of the season and his move to Liverpool after impressing with his country at last summer’s Copa America.
He was also heavily linked with a move to Tottenham, who were said to have a long-standing interest in his services before eventually losing the race to tie him down at the eleventh hour.
The north Londoners reportedly haggled with Porto to reduce Diaz’s asking price to around £37million before Liverpool swooped in to complete the move.
Klopp was forced to accelerate his interest in landing the winger in order to beat Spurs to his signature before the end of the January window.
Diaz could be set to make his debut for the six-time European champions in Sunday’s FA Cup fourth-round meeting with Cardiff City at Anfield.
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The move was generally seen as a real coup for Liverpool, who have long been linked with the addition of a new attacker to provide the likes of Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane with some additional competition for places.
It seems as though not everybody is overly impressed with Diaz, though, with Basile questioning Klopp’s view of the former Porto ace when quizzed on the signing earlier this week.
“That Diaz who bought Liverpool, I didn’t see him do anything against Peru or Argentina,” Basile told Radio Cooperativa, as reported by Gol. “How did Liverpool buy Diaz?”
Diaz has been on international duty with Colombia over the last fortnight but has failed to score in each of his last two appearances for Los Cafeteros.
He will be looking to recapture his usual prolific form when he travels to England to begin his Liverpool career in the next few days.
Klopp admitted on Thursday that he was delighted to have thrashed out a deal to sign Diaz, insisting that he will be valued as a hugely important member of the squad from the outset.
“We signed him because we like pretty much everything about him,” the Liverpool boss told reporters at a press conference.
“I have followed him for a while, not only since we played Porto twice [in the Champions League this season]. He is an exceptional player.
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“He has speed, the skillset and the character to have a really good career and we want him to have that career with us.
“Nowadays when you have 16 and 17-year-olds playing at the highest level, he maybe is a bit of a late bloomer but they bloom exceptionally well very often.
“I’m really happy we could get him in now. It’s a special story so far. We have some players with special stories behind them and I like that, he is one of us now.”
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