Football scout Oguzhan Oguz has claimed that North Macedonia midfielder Jani Atanasov attracted interest from Liverpool a couple of years ago.
Atanasov joined Turkish side Bursaspor back in 2018 while at the time he was attracting interest from the Reds. The midfielder spent two seasons in Turkey before moving to Croatian side Hajduk Split in 2020.
Oguz shared an incident when Atanasov was being scouted by the Premier League side during the U-19 European Championships in Finland back in 2018. However, their interest in Atanasov was not concrete, which saw him move to Turkey instead.
Speaking to Goal (via HITC), Oguz explained how interest from Liverpool prompted them to move quickly to sign Atanasov for Bursaspor. He said:
"Atanasov was kind of the club’s project transfer. He also had serious suitors. I can even share an anecdote about him. While watching the U19 European Championship in Finland, we ran into Liverpool’s scout. He asked me if we had signed Atanasov. During our conversation, he said that Jurgen Klopp also wanted the player very much."
“At this point, it was also very important to use good connections in Macedonia. The player came to Bursaspor, but some conditions were not fulfilled and the player left the club without making the expected contribution.”
Atanasov is a 23-year-old defensive midfielder playing for Hajduk Split. The North Macedonia international has made 14 appearances across all competitions for the Croatian outfit and has scored two goals along the way.
It is worth mentioning that Atanasov has entered the final year of his contract with Hajduk Split. He will therefore be available on a free transfer in the summer of 2023 should be not sign a contract extension with his current side.
Liverpool are in dire need of strengthening their midfield in the coming transfer window
Liverpool will be requiring midfield reinforcements in the upcoming transfer window following a terrible start to the 2022-23 season. The Reds currently have an aging midfield which will need replacing sooner rather than later.
As things stand, James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all have their contracts expiring at the end of the current season. It is highly unlikely they will be offered an extension due to their declining form and poor injury record.
This will leave Liverpool with three vacancies in their midfield which will need addressing either in January or the summer transfer window.