The agent of Ismaila Sarr claims that Liverpool had a contract ready for his client to sign in January.
Liverpool moved to sign centre-backs as cover for the injured Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez but didn’t strengthen other areas of the squad.
But they were reportedly close to agreeing a deal for Sarr, who has been linked with a move to Anfield for some time.
Sarr’s agent, Thierno Seydi, has claimed Sadio Mane was even looking for a place for the 22-year-old to live.
Seydi told Panafricanfootball: “With Liverpool, a few days ago, we were at the stage of signing the contract that would tie the Reds to Ismaila Sarr.
“Everything was sorted: the monthly wages and the length of the deal. I’d even asked Sadio Mane to find him an apartment.
“But in the end, the English club weren’t able to put the €40m on the table to finalise the affair.
“You have to say that if English clubs that once animated the transfer window are struggling to put funds together, that shows the depth of the crisis affecting football.”
Sarr played in the same academy as Mane in Senegal and previously spoke highly of the current Liverpool star.
“Mane is not only a Senegal team-mate of mine but he is my inspiration and idol,” Sarr had said.
“It will be perfect for me to play against him again. For me he is the best player in the world. For sure, the best African player in Europe.
“He’s our national team leader but he’s also a nice guy and I love him.”