Football: Liverpool swoop for Brazil no. 1 Alisson

Goalkeeper Alisson, who has been at Serie A club Roma for two seasons, kept three clean sheets out of five games for five-time champions Brazil at the World Cup in Russia.
Goalkeeper Alisson, who has been at Serie A club Roma for two seasons, kept three clean sheets out of five games for five-time champions Brazil at the World Cup in Russia.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Pending medical, Reds will pay record $119m to make him world's most expensive 'keeper

LONDON • Liverpool have signed goalkeeper Alisson for a world-record fee of €75 million (S$119 million), subject to a medical. The Brazilian flew to England last night and is expected to have his medical on Saturday.

The Premier League club made an initial €70 million bid for the 25-year-old Roma stopper on Tuesday, which was rejected, but the clubs have now reached a deal. Liverpool and Roma agreed the final details of the transfer yesterday with the fee, which include add-ons, to be paid over two years.

Chelsea were ready to move for Alisson if Thibaut Courtois departed for Real Madrid but Liverpool acted swiftly in an attempt to secure their No. 1 goalkeeper target. Chelsea had still not made an offer by yesterday morning.

Alisson, who played all five of Brazil's matches at the World Cup, will replace Loris Karius as Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp's No. 1.

The goalkeeping position has been problematic at the club for several years and neither Karius nor Simon Mignolet has convinced the German manager that they are a long-term solution.

Alisson joined Roma from Internacional in 2016 for €7.5 million. He spent the first season as Wojciech Szczesny's back-up and did not play a league game.

Last season, after the Pole left for Juventus, Alisson became first choice and contributed towards Roma reaching the Champions League semi-finals, where they were eliminated by Liverpool .

If the deal goes through, it would make Alisson the world's most expensive goalkeeper, eclipsing the £35 million (S$62 million) it cost Manchester City to buy Ederson from Benfica last summer and the £32.6 million paid by Juventus for Gianluigi Buffon in 2001.

Alisson would also become Liverpool's fourth summer signing after the arrivals of Naby Keita from RB Leipzig (£52.8 million), Fabinho from Monaco (£40 million) and Xherdan Shaqiri from Stoke City (£13.5 million).

Real had a keen interest in Alisson before he performed well for Brazil at the World Cup, although it is understood that they considered him to be overpriced and have turned their attention to Courtois.

Courtois has entered the final year of his contract and was made an offer that nearly doubled his wage of £100,000 a week.

The Belgium goalkeeper, however, has suggested that he wants to return to the Spanish capital, where he played on loan for Atletico Madrid between 2011 and 2014 and where his two children live with his former partner.

Alisson's capture means that Liverpool, a team so widely praised for their attacking football last season, now have the world's most expensive goalkeeper and defender. They signed centre-back Virgil van Dijk from Southampton for £75 million in January.

The Merseyside club have had arguably the best transfer window of any of the top six sides so far.

Their squad will be strengthened further if they can resurrect a deal for France midfielder Nabil Fekir, whose £48.4 million transfer from Lyon fell through just before the World Cup.

THE GUARDIAN, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 19, 2018, with the headline 'Liverpool swoop for Brazil no. 1 Alisson'. Print Edition | Subscribe