Loic Remy’s transfer to Chelsea and the medical mystery at Liverpool

Liverpool snubbed striker over heart issues so why are Chelsea willing to sign him?

Should Loïc Rémy complete his expected move from Queens Park Rangers to Chelsea on Monday as a replacement for Fernando Torres it will leave many observers baffled.

This, after all, is the same player who failed a medical at Liverpool last month. If he was not fit  enough for their manager Brendan Rodgers, how come Jose Mourinho appears ready to invest £10.5m  in him.

Even by the murky world of football transfers this has been a strange tale, with a twist that few would have predicted. Little more than a month ago the striker spent almost a week on the Boston leg of Liverpool’s pre-season tour of United States at the end of July. A clause in his contract with Queens Park Rangers meant he could leave west London for a club competing in the Champions League for a flat £8million fee.

Liverpool wanted a third striker to compete with Daniel Sturridge and Rickie Lambert. Aside from enlisting someone whose Premier League pedigree was proven, having scored 14 times on loan at Newcastle United, Rodgers was enticed by Rémy’s versatility, with the option to play him in a central role or wide in a front three.

Brendan Rodgers looks on from the sidelines The French striker failed a medical at Chelsea  

So transfer discussions began between Liverpool’s chief executive, Ian Ayre, and the player’s agent, Willie McKay, with no thought that Rémy would fail the medical –  it was even agreed that the player would inherit Liverpool’s historically significant No 7 shirt, worn most recently by Luis Suarez.

And as part of the transfer process Rémy underwent a stringent medical examination, with tests first taking place in New York City as he concluded a family holiday, and then Boston.

The Independent on Sunday  understands that Liverpool consulted several eminent cardiologists before pulling out of the deal.

That again raises a big question. During Rémy’s transfer from Nice to Marseille in 2010, Marseille announced that MRI scans had discovered “an anomaly” on the wall of his heart. Yet following consultations with a panel of five leading specialists in the field, Marseille, unlike Liverpool, went through with the transfer.

The 27-year-old Rémy has since been the subject of two moves, passing medicals at QPR and Newcastle. He was also approved to play at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil following a compulsory Fifa health inspection.

Harry Redknapp, QPR’s manager, reacted to the breakdown of the Liverpool deal by speaking positively about Rémy’s record. “He’s never had a problem with his fitness; you couldn’t meet a fitter lad,” he said, before stating that Liverpool’s decision was based on football grounds. “It must be a breakdown or Liverpool have changed their mind,” he added.

So what happened at Liverpool? Around this time a lucrative agreement for Liverpool to sell Fabio Borini to Sunderland fell through when the Italian sustained a shoulder injury during a pre-season friendly with AS Roma. Borini then returned to England for treatment and hasn’t played since, though Rodgers claimed on Friday that he could still seal a move to the Stadium of Light before the close of the transfer window. Harry Redknapp will use three centre-halves and wing-backs on his Premier League return with QPR Harry Redknapp said Remy's injury record was good

It was also around this time that Ayre convinced McKay to lower Rémy’s wage expectations from £110,000 a week to around £90,000, which was agreed.

When it was revealed by Liverpool that they would abort their pursuit of Rémy and did not offer a public explanation – though the fact that it was down to a failed medical soon became known – it was suggested by the player’s camp that the decision was purely financial; that Borini’s move to Sunderland falling through was not because of the injury but because the player simply rejected their offer – thus leaving Liverpool without the funds to secure Rémy.

They also believed the unexpected failure to move Borini out of Anfield explained Liverpool’s attempt to  reduce the value of the Frenchman’s contract. In short, they believe Liverpool did not really have the funds. However,  the subsequent arrival of Mario Balotelli on a similar basic wage (although highly incentivised), and for almost double the fee, would seem to disprove this.

Any suggestion, though, that Balotelli became available and Liverpool simply switched targets can also be dismissed. Milan circulated the striker’s name to around 10 of Europe’s top clubs at the start of the summer with an asking price of £25million. Privately, Rodgers was adamant that Balotelli was not under consideration. It was only when Milan could not find a buyer and  that fee was lowered to £16million two weeks ago that the mindset  inside Anfield changed and Liverpool decided it was worth taking the risk.

And risk-reward calculations  appear to be at the heart of why they pulled out of the Rémy deal. Financially it would appear they decided they could not afford to take the risk of spending a large amount of money on a player who could be a medical problem down the line. Meanwhile, moneybags Chelsea can afford to take that gamble. Jose Mourinho Jose Mourinho said the information he has is that Remy does not have a problem

Redknapp claimed on Saturday that he had no idea Chelsea had triggered the £10.5m buy-out clause until he was informed at midday. “That was a massive shock. He was absolutely playing today [in the team against Sunderland]. It never entered my mind that he wouldn’t be.”

Redknapp also said that is was  inevitable Rémy would move eventually. “It is not his fault. He’s gone to Chelsea and Champions League football. There was nothing anyone could do about it, because he insisted on coming with a buy-out clause. But he has to the cheapest buy of the century. Chelsea have got a top-clas French international.”

Given all that has happened, should Rémy pass his Chelsea medical – and the London club are clearly confident he will – the player’s account of the last two months at his first press conference will be fascinating.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...