Rennes wonderkid Doku explains why he turned down Liverpool after chat with Mane

Jeremy Doku - Rennes - 2020/21

Rennes wonderkid Jeremy Doku has explained why he turned down a move to Liverpool after a chat with Sadio Mane three years ago.

Doku, who finished 14th in Goal‘s 2021 NXGN list of the top wonderkids in football,madehis senior debut at Anderlecht in 2018 before Rennes snapped him up for €26 million (£22m/$31m).

The teenager claims he snubbed advances fromthree Premier League clubs in favour of moving toRoazhon Park, including Liverpool, having been offered some perspective on his future during discussionswith Mane.

“I was going to be 16 and that wasthe age you can sign a pro contract. A lot of teams came to see me,” Doku told Ouest-France. “Everyone talks about Liverpool because it was the most concrete interest but there was also Arsenal and Chelsea.

“I was able to discuss with Jurgen [Klopp], Mane, [Georginio] Wijnaldum… [Steven] Gerrard too. I talked a lot with Manebut we didn’t really talk about football. We talked about everything.

“He told me that I was young, that I still had time… hewasn’t trying toconvince me or to say to me ‘come here, you will succeed’.

“I preferred to be careful. I know what my trajectory hadto be. That’s why, at 15, I told myself it had become serious, because I’d seen my career. I know what route I needed to take and I knew at that moment I needed to stay at Anderlecht.

“As soon as I’m asked if I regret it, I always say no, because if Liverpool came to me at 15, if they like me, they’ll come back later, that’s certain. It’s up to me to be play well.”

Doku has managed to establish himself as a regular in the Rennesstarting XI in his debut campaign, but has yet to fully repay the club’s initial investment in his talent.

The 18-year-old has only scored three goals in his first 38 games across all competitions for the French outfit, the latest of which came in a 3-1 win over Metz at the weekend, while also laying on seven assists for his team-mates.

A measure of Doku’s potential, however, is proved by the facthe was included in Roberto Martinez’s latest Belgium squad for the start of their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Doku’s decision to continue his development at Rennes instead of Liverpool has already paid off in terms of his minutes on the pitch.

The former Anderlecht staris playing far more frequently atRoazhon Park than he would have at Anfield, where Jurgen Klopp already has an all-star attacking arsenal at his disposal.

Rennes have given Doku the chance to show off his abilityin bothLigue 1 and the Champions League, with that experience likely to be invaluable as he matures as a player.

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