Why Bade rejected Liverpool, Arsenal and more to make €20m Rennes move

Robin Bairner
Rennes signing Loic Bade turned down a chance to move to Liverpool and Arsenal when he left Lens

Liverpool, Arsenal and Newcastle are among several Premier League clubs to have missed out on Lens centre-back Loic Bade, who has instead signed for Rennes.

The 21-year-old Bade has made a transfer worth an estimated €20 million to Rennes, who will also pay between 12.5-15% of any profit they make on the defender to their Ligue 1 rivals.

Bade, who was also watched by Leeds and Brighton, has signed a five-year deal with his new club.

Bade explains why he turned down Premier League move

Rennes president Florian Maurice confirmed that Bade had several options on the table.

“There was competition, but we were very quickly proactive,” he explained. “The work was done very well by the club.”

There were other options but my choice was made naturally
- Loic Bade

Bade, meanwhile, hinted at why he elected to reject clubs of the stature of Liverpool and Arsenal to continue in Ligue 1.

“There were other options but my choice was made naturally,” he said. “I had ambitions and this is a choice I’ve thought about. I think it’s the right one.

“It’s important to me to confirm in France. The sporting project here got me excited. I was won over by the club’s goals, which suited me. And the coach’s game plan also suits me.

“In a year and a half, I’ve gone from the fifth tier to Ligue 1 and Europe with Rennes, which is not negligible. I’m aware of that. I have to keep my head on my shoulders and work some more. I shouldn’t burn my wings. Playing in Europe is another step in my career.”

How good is Bade?

Bade has been touted as the ‘next Raphael Varane’ as he boasts a similar stature and has similar attributes to the Real Madrid centre-back, who could move to Manchester United this summer.

“He's still a young player and doesn't have a lot of experience yet, but you don't have to be worried,” Maurice said. “He has character and temperament. He's a really nice guy. I am convinced of his qualities. They are very interesting, both physically and technically.

“We have a team that plays football and we want players who can carry the balls out from defence. He has the characteristics coach Bruno Genesio asks for. But he remains a defender above all, that is to say that he wins duels.

“He still has things to work on, and this is normal compared to his young age, but he has already acquired a lot.”

Bade has become Rennes’ first signing of the summer, and should he confirm his fine debut season in Ligue 1, the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal may well be back in 2022.