The Reds beat Tottenham to sign the £50m Colombia international, who had settled at Anfield ahead of his Premier League debut.
Luis Dias finally touched down on Merseyside around lunchtime last Friday.
“It’s cold, isn’t it?” the Colombian laughed as he stepped off his private jet at Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
Better get used to it, Louis, after all it’s February and it’s England.
It’s been a pretty good week for Dias. He competed in two races, took five different flights and visited four different countries.
But at the end of it all, he was grinning from ear to ear, and who could blame him?
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“Let’s get started!” Dias laughed after completing his first round of media assignments as a Reds player. Less than 48 hours later, he received a hero’s welcome at Anfield, scoring just 11 minutes on his debut in a 3-1 FA Cup win over Cardiff City.
He even had time to do a good assessment of his injury. “A bruise and a cut,” Jurgen Klopp confirmed after Dias was bruised by Cardiff defender Flint’s stud. “Welcome to England!” his new teammates told him.
There is also a Champions League last-16 match against Inter Milan next week and the Carabao Cup final at Wembley later this month. For this newcomer, he has no time to relax.
So, here’s the story of Dias’ move to Anfield and his first day as a Liverpool player…
A great opportunity not to be missed
It was on Tuesday 25 January that Liverpool took action against Dias.
At the time, Liverpool were expected to keep a low profile in the winter transfer window, despite Salah and others leaving for the African Cup earlier this month.
Dias is at the top of their target list, he is seen as a player with considerable talent and great potential, he has enough experience to deal with but is raw enough to be shaped and shaped under Klopp. improve.
His performances at Porto and Colombia have been closely watched and a summer move is planned, although Porto’s initial asking price of around £65m was deemed unreasonable.
However, things changed quickly as January went on. Tottenham’s interest in Dias brought Porto to the negotiating table, while Liverpool were informed that not only were Porto willing to make a deal for a more reasonable price, but the player himself would prefer a move to Merseyside rather than London.
Julian Ward, who will take over as sporting director for the Reds this summer, has led negotiations. Ward, who is currently Michael Edwards’ deputy, has strong connections in Portugal and South America, and in two and a half days he struck a deal that would see Liverpool pay £37.5m to sign Dias if the player Liverpool will also pay a further £12.5m, subject to a series of performance-related additional conditions.
Tottenham are disappointed and believe they have reached deals with both Porto and Dias. Tottenham sources say their deal was sabotaged by the player’s agent, Carlos van Stella Hallen, who is said to have been fascinated by the presence of superagent Jorge Mendes around the transfer. Not happy.
“It’s a good thing Spurs aren’t still doing their Amazon documentary,” said a source familiar with the deal.
So while Daniel Levy and Antonio Conte reluctantly turned to Kulus, Liverpool went ahead with the Dias deal. By Thursday, January 27, they were already in the lead.
race against time
Once the deal with Porto was struck, the next step was to complete the formalities and necessary paperwork – no easy task as Dias was playing for the Colombian national team at the time.
A video conference was scheduled between Ward, Klopp, Dias and his agents Van Strajalen and Raul Pais da Costa on Thursday before the window closed.
The next day, Liverpool arranged for club doctor Jim Moxon and loan director David Woodfin to fly to Córdoba, where Diaz would arrive that weekend for a medical.
Dias played 90 minutes in Colombia’s 1-0 loss to Peru in Barranquilla on Friday night, before meeting the Liverpool delegation the next day.
Gonzalo Sigrist, a Reds scout based in Buenos Aires, arranged the medical. Sigrist’s father is a doctor and Liverpool used his connections to book a local clinic in Cordoba on Saturday and Sunday.
There were no problems with the medical – Dias’s fitness record at Porto has been excellent – and Liverpool finally announced the deal at 12pm on Sunday.
Diaz, smiling and wearing a Reds training uniform, signed a five-and-a-half-year contract.
Klopp told the club’s official website: “I am very happy. Diaz is the player we really want and we believe he will make us better now and in the future.”
He thanked the club’s owners Fenway Sports Group and the football operations team led by Ward for closing the deal so quickly, and praised the Colombian Football Association for allowing players to leave the national team’s training camp for “a few hours” in order to complete the deal.
Even after Dias’s final makeup photo shoot, the club still has some work to do.
Diaz made another appearance for Colombia when the Reds attempted to sign Fabio Carvalho from Fulham on transfer deadline day, having suffered a defeat against Argentina that dashed their World Cup qualification hopes.
After the match in Cordoba, Dias and his family flew to Paris, where they waited for their British visas.
Liverpool’s football management team, Jonathan Bamber and Preston Jones, made the necessary arrangements. Dias’ girlfriend, Guerra Ponce, posted a photo of the pair on Instagram with the Eiffel Tower in the background. “Does Blackpool look good!” a Reds fan quivered in reply.
Obtaining a labor certification is no problem. Dias is a full-fledged international who has made 31 appearances for Colombia and more than 100 games for Porto over the past three seasons, and by Friday he is on his way to England to start his latest adventure.
After landing at Liverpool, Dias was sent directly to the club’s training ground in Kirkby, and his journey was filmed by the club’s official TV channel, LFCTV.
Andy Robertson was the first to greet him at the training centre before a smiling Klopp appeared at the top of the stairs. “Hi sir, how are you?” grinned Dias, who was soon delighted to learn that Klopp’s assistant Pep Linds spoke Portuguese.
After hugging Van Dijk in the hallway, Dias said: “He’s so tall!” Then he introduced himself to the rest of his new teammates in the locker room.
Then, with a quick change of clothes, he and conditioning director Andreas Komeier did some stretching and warm-ups, before finishing with a few minutes on the court with the ball.
Then there’s the media work. Dias, accompanied by his girlfriend and young daughter, answered various questions with a smile. “Will you answer in English next time?” someone asked him. “Give me a few weeks…a week and a half!” Dias replied.
He will wear the number 23 shirt at Liverpool, which has been passed down by legends such as Robbie Fowler and Jamie Carragher, most recently by Shaqiri.
After training with the team on Saturday, Klopp has decided he will play against Cardiff. His debut came in the 57th minute, just after Jota had given the Reds the lead. He replaced Curtis Jones and played alongside Harvey Elliott, who had just returned from a serious injury.
It didn’t take long for him to contribute, he was involved in Takumi Minamino’s goal, and Jota’s touch meant that Dias’ pass would not be officially counted as an assist by OPTA, but it didn’t matter; the ball He created it, no doubt about it.
A later collision with Flint left all Anfield fans holding their breath, with Dias landing in a bad position and reaching for his knee after scrambling for a header.
After some therapy by Moxon and physical therapist Chris Morgan, Dias was back on his feet and back in the game. “He has his first scar,” Klopp said in his post-match press conference.
He’s going to get used to it and Liverpool are delighted that he’s willing to play against Cardiff City. While this may only be a 33-minute cameo, it’s an encouraging one.
Of course, bigger challenges lie ahead. With Liverpool in the running for four titles at the same time, Dias should have plenty of opportunities in the coming weeks to show what he is capable of and why Liverpool must sign him.