Diogo Jota was a surprise move, but Manchester United’s claim shows he was destined for Liverpool


Liverpool’s new boy, Diogo Jota, is full of surprises. His childhood affection for Everton is well documented, but that never stopped Ian Rush, Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman, Michael Owen, Jamie Carragher or even Adam Lallana from becoming Kop Idols.

However, while the old-fashioned cloak and dagger for Jota seemed to catch everyone off guard – unlike the switch for Thiago Alcantara – in a curious way, it still seemed intended for Anfield …

He joked that he could never see himself playing for Manchester United.

Providing an interpretation of Jota’s £ 41million transfer to Liverpool from his native Portuguese, David Novo, editor-in-chief of Diario Record, Portugal’s leading sports newspaper, told ECHO: “Diogo is a really nice guy and always happy to talk.

“During the pandemic quarantine, he gave an interview to our journal Record.

“Without losing the seriousness of his job, he gave funny answers and explained how much he enjoys playing the Football Manager video game.

“The interviewer asked him about the prospect of going to Manchester United and Diogo told him he liked to wear the number 18 but the number 18 has Bruno Fernandes so that could have some problems! ”

The pace at which Jota’s transfer has developed has caused as much stir in Portugal as it has in England, however.

Novo said: “Like you, we were also a bit surprised by this transfer.

“It doesn’t mean that Diogo doesn’t have quality but Liverpool have been very calm in the transfer market.

“I saw the reports for several weeks linking Timo Werner to Liverpool, but then he went to Chelsea and we read that Liverpool are supposedly not going to spend a lot of money in that window.

“Then they signed Thiago for an amount which I believe is really low for a world class player and all of a sudden we heard that the Diogo deal was almost done.

“It’s obviously a steep price, but it looks like it was a deal that was done very quickly.

“Diogo had been linked with other clubs in the past, but I don’t remember Liverpool being one of them. ”

Although only on December 24, Jota’s journey to Merseyside took a somewhat hilly path.

While born in Porto, Portugal’s second city, he began his professional career over 20 miles northeast in Pacos de Ferreira, one of the small lights of the Primeira Liga after the ‘Big Three »Tradition of his hometown, FC Porto and Lisbon. based on Benfica and Sporting CP.

Novo said: “Paolo Fonseca, now in charge of Roma, was the first manager to believe in Diogo and launch his first team career.

“He made a very good impression during this season (2015/16) and his agent Jorge Mendes made the transfer to Atletico Madrid, a club with which he has a good relationship.

“I remember at the time, Diogo almost signed for Benfica but then he went to Spain.

“He was really young, barely 20 years old and went to a big club in Spain which at the time had players like Antonie Griezmann and Fernando Torres.

“He never played and was loaned to Portugal with Porto, where he played a lot of matches, including some in the Champions League.

“Then came the Wolverhampton chapter, first with another loan, then a permanent transfer.”

Starting out in the league with Wolves – where he scored 18 goals in his debut season in England in 2017/18 – Jota’s adaptation was much easier being surrounded by several of his compatriots who swapped their proud country. Iberian seafarer against the landlocked Black Country. of the West Midlands.

Not only does Jota leave his coach Nuno Espirito Santo, but no less than 10 other Portuguese players remain in the first team.

Novo said: “We are used to seeing Portuguese players in big leagues like the Premier League and that is a sign that we have very good players.

“Everyone knows the Portuguese influence at Wolverhampton so we are following them very carefully.

“He was definitely one of their best players, so I think it’s only natural that he’s now taken that step in his career.

This form for Wolves caught him the attention of national team coach Fernando Santos and Jota won his first cap last year, becoming the most famous Portuguese player of all.

Novo said: “He’s been good for us, but Portugal are lucky to have a lot of options and Diogo are trying to earn his place in the squad.

“He made his debut against Lithuania, replacing Cristiano Ronaldo and was in the starting lineup against Croatia when Ronaldo was not there and scored.

Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo is replaced by Diogo Jota in the Euro 2020 qualifying match against Lithuania at the Algarve stadium in Faro on November 14, 2019

“I think he has a great future in the Portuguese national team. I think he will maintain the quality he showed at Wolverhampton to Liverpool and will be one of the options for the European Championship finals next year.

“In the recent Nations League match for Portugal against Croatia he started on the left wing, but during the match he swapped positions with Joao Felix (center forward) in the attack.

“He’s always on the move, he’s really dynamic. In the Portuguese youth squad I saw him play as one of the strikers in a 4-4-2 formation and Diogo has already said he has no preferences so I think he can be a very good choice for Liverpool.

Joining the reigning Premier League and FIFA Club World Cup champions, Jota will be aware that he can’t be expected to just walk sideways.

However, Novo believes Jota can become a powerful weapon for Jurgen Klopp.

He said: “The top three are like Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool trademark. Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane – fast, intense and technical players with a very good connection between them and also with the team.

“Diogo has speed, he’s a fast player who is also technical.

“He can play as a left winger, he’s good at one-on-one situations and can cut inside to try to shoot with his favorite right foot.

“I think a club like Liverpool could have a player of their choice and almost all players will say yes to Liverpool.

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“What is positive for Diogo is that he is already adapted to the Premier League.

“Of course Liverpool are bigger than Wolverhampton but I think Diogo is up to the challenge.

“Even Nuno Espirito Santo, the coach he left, says he went to the right club.

“When you consider all of this, I think it’s the right decision for Diogo and Liverpool.”

He added: “The top three are some of the players who helped Liverpool win the Champions League and then the Premier League, so they are really important to Jurgen Klopp’s style of football.

“If Liverpool signed Kylian Mbappe he would obviously become the first choice for them, but even though Diogo won’t be a regular in the top 11 I think it’s a very good option for a left winger. He could also play the role of Firmino if Klopp wishes.

“With so many competitions like the Premier League, the Carabao Cup, the FA Cup and the Champions League, I think Diogo is going to play a lot of games, not only in the starting line-up but coming off the bench and I hope I can mark it. goals.

“I think it’s a really interesting signing for Liverpool and a big step for Diogo, but I think he’s up to the challenge.”

* What are your expectations for Diogo Jota this season? Give your opinion in the comments section.


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