Steven Gerrard says he tried to help Liverpool land Willian and Toni Kroos

Toni Kroos of Real Madrid CF celebrates scoring their third goal during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Rayo Vallecano
Image: Toni Kroos (right) opted for a switch to Real Madrid when he left Bayern Munich

Steven Gerrard has revealed that he used to regularly contact Liverpool transfer targets in an attempt to persuade them to sign for the Reds.

The former Liverpool captain says that most summers he would be asked to speak to a high-profile transfer target, in the belief that being contacted by the England midfielder might act as a lure.

Gerrard revealed he was recently tasked with approaching Brazilian Willian and German World Cup winner Toni Kroos, although they eventually joined Chelsea and Real Madrid respectively.

Gerrard discussed the role he played in player recruitment in his new autobiography, My Story, which is currently being serialised in the Daily Mail.

"It was the same ritual every summer. The club would let me know which long-shot target they had in mind and ask me to contact him," Gerrard said.

"In 2013, the latest player in our sights was Willian, the Brazilian midfielder. Instead of calling directly, I always sent a text. It was the opening move in a familiar game."

Gerrard added Willian was extremely courteous but that he made it clear there were other clubs interested in signing him.

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Steven Gerrard tried to persuade Willian to join Liverpool rather than Chelsea
Image: Steven Gerrard tried to persuade Willian to join Liverpool rather than Chelsea

"The next text from Willian was so obvious I could have written it for him, even before I read it," Gerrard added.

"He again said that it would be great to play in the same team as me but 'I'm not sure Liverpool can give me the Champions League'. He went to Chelsea."

However, next summer Gerrard and Liverpool went after arguably an even more unlikely target.

Gerrard wrote: "Our target in 2014 was ridiculously optimistic. Brendan (Rodgers, Liverpool manager) asked me to take a crack at trying to talk Toni Kroos into signing for Liverpool.

"I knew Real Madrid were gearing up to make Bayern Munich an offer and so I felt a bit awkward when I texted Kroos. But God loves a trier and so I gave it a whirl.

"Some of the best footballers in the world can also be the most respectful. Kroos did not make me feel like I was a total idiot. But, of course, he would soon sign for Real."

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