Liverpool transfer almost 'hinged' on Roque Santa Cruz as Jürgen Klopp faces deadline day wait

Liverpool is now staring down the barrel of transfer deadline day. In around 48 hours, any late business Jürgen Klopp hopes to do will need to have been concluded.

But there is one mooted transfer that Liverpool cannot even begin to negotiate until deadline day, setting Liverpool up for a potential race against time. It means that all eyes could be on an unlikely fixture in the early hours of Friday morning.

All has gone quiet on the André Trindade front lately. Liverpool had been linked with a move, but the Brazilian season is approaching its climax, and Fluminense is currently unwilling to sanction a deal until January.

Per Brazilian outlet Globo, the club has 'vetoed' the deal, rejecting a Liverpool transfer offer in the region of $33m (£26m/€30m). The rationale is made clear:

"The reason for the tricolor's refusal is the club's hope of winning the unprecedented Conmebol Libertadores title: the team is in the quarter-finals and faces Olimpia, from Paraguay."

The first leg of that fixture has now been played, with Fluminense running out 2-0 winners and André on the score-sheet. The second leg kicks off a 1:30am UK time on — you guessed it — transfer deadline day.

Clearly, Fluminense goes into the fixture as heavy favorite to advance to the semi-final of the prestigious Copa Libertadores. But it still has to get past Olimpia, this time in Paraguay.

Currently mid-table in the Paraguayan top flight, Olimpia does not have any names immediately recognizable to the typical European fan. But Liverpool could very easily have been relying on Roque Santa Cruz.

Amazingly, the former Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers player is still going strong. Santa Cruz returned to boyhood club Olimpia in 2016, and remained there until 2021.

Now 42, it was not time for Santa Cruz to drop further down the divisions in Paraguay. Instead, he joined Libertad — the current league leader, for whom he is still playing today.

Incredibly, Emmanuel Adebyaor could also have played an unlikely part in the André transfer story. Convinced by his former team-mate Santa Cruz, he joined Olimpia in 2020, but was limited to just two league appearances and a couple of outings in the Copa Libertadores before the Covid pandemic put paid to the union.

As it is, Fernando Cardozo will be among the biggest threats to Fluminense's aggregate advantage. Briefly loaned to Portuguese top flight side Boavista in 2019/20, he has three goals and two assists in nine Copa Libertadores outings so far this season.

Whether Klopp and Liverpool would move for André in the event of a shock Libertadores exit on transfer deadline day remains to be seen. But it will fall to a less Hollywood cast than Adebyayor and Santa Cruz to open up the unlikely possibility.


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