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Liverpool GAZUMP Tottenham for Luis Diaz

It’s happened again.

GD Estoril Praia v FC Porto - Liga Portugal Bwin Photo by Valter Gouveia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The news broke late last night Eastern time, early morning in Portugal, starting with a slew of Portuguese and South American journalists. But no one really wanted to believe it. I saw them last night but opted to wait until morning to write, on the off chance that it might blow over. Flash forward six hours later and it’s all over the English media too — Liverpool has successfully GAZUMPED Tottenham Hotspur for the signing of Porto wide attacker Luis Diaz.

Liverpool’s offer is supposedly €35-40m + €20m in performance-based add-ons. Depending on who you talk to, that’s either equal to or perhaps slightly more than Tottenham’s latest offer. There were reports that superagent Jorge Mendes had inserted himself into negotiations between Spurs and Porto due to Mendes’ ties to Portugal, but Diaz’s agents refused to hold talks unless Mendes extricated himself from the situation. There’s some reason to believe this was an exaggeration, but it ultimately doesn’t matter.

The truth is — and context is important here — Diaz was and has been a long-term target of Liverpool dating back to last summer. They were apparently hoping to complete a deal for him this summer, but upped their plans in the face of Tottenham’s bid. In that way, you could consider Spurs’ bid as a failed gazumping of Liverpool, rather than the other way around. Whichever way you look at it, though, the decision to choose Liverpool was Diaz’s. There’s not much you can do about that. Spurs apparently did everything they could do; it just wasn’t enough.

Look, this sucks. There’s no way around it. This is twice in two days now that Spurs have had a major transfer target suddenly get poached by a bigger club right out from under them. There’s no way to sugarcoat the disappointment here. But, before any of you acquiesce to the strong pull of ultra-doomerism during this window, consider this — numerous reports suggested that Spurs’ pursuit of Diaz was NOT evidence that he was one of Fabio Paratici’s top targets, but rather was a valuable target of opportunity, an elite player they thought they could snatch before anyone noticed. He was a luxury player — an attacker who plays in Son Heung-Min’s position and who didn’t really address any of the big issues currently within the squad. Anyway, going full doomer over a player most probably didn’t even know existed two days ago is, I’ll suggest, not especially good for your mental health. It is, however, an annoyingly good signing for Liverpool, who has an aging Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah to eventually replace.

Antonio Conte still has priorities on how to improve the squad this month — CB, CM, ST — and Paratici is still working from his original list. There are still players likely to go out, and players likely to come in. The January window is a TERRIBLE time to do major reinforcements, Spurs have unique challenges that may not be fully addressed midway through the season, but still have, overall, a strong (if thin) squad. And even so there’s a good chance we’ll see new faces before all is said and done.

We go on — to new targets, new names, new opportunities. Three days to go. COYS.