Premier League • England

Liverpool deal agreed after double-pronged defender decision, with Klopp preparing to benefit next year

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool have agreed to send Billy Koumetio out on loan to US Dunkerque, according to reports in France.

Koumetio will be playing in the French second tier on a temporary basis as a result of the move, although Liverpool have not let Dunkerque have any option to buy the defender. In other words, they have decided that it will be best for him to develop elsewhere this season, but also that they don’t want to lose control of his career.

Should all go to plan, Koumetio will return to Liverpool next year with more experience under his belt, aiming to make more of an impression on Jurgen Klopp.

By the time his loan spell in Dunkirk ends, there will be one year remaining on his contract with Liverpool, unless they arrange to extend it before shipping him off.

Last season, Koumetio spent some time on loan at Austria Vienna, but he was recalled after half a season due to a lack of consistent playing opportunities.

Still only 20 years old, he will now be taking the next steps with Dunkerque, who are newcomers to Ligue 2 after winning promotion out of the French third tier last season.

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They will be giving him his first chance to play for a club in his country of birth at senior level, after he previously came through the youth ranks of Lyon and US Orleans.

Koumetio has previously earned two appearances for the Liverpool first team, but neither of them were last season.

He is now set to become the latest young prospect to leave them on loan this summer after Calvin Ramsay went to Preston North End, Fabio Carvalho to RB Leipzig, Rhys Williams to Aberdeen and Sepp van den Berg to Mainz, among several others.

Liverpool also dealing with interest in Gomez

The senior centre-backs that remain at Klopp’s disposal include Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, Ibrahima Konate and Joe Gomez, although the latter is being linked with an exit too.

Al-Ittihad are apparently interested in Gomez, after also buying Fabinho from Liverpool and pursuing Mohamed Salah this summer.

An update from The Times has also revealed that West Ham could be keen to offer the England international an alternative platform in the Premier League as he aims to get back in contention for Gareth Southgate’s squad. His contract with Liverpool is still due to run until 2027, though.

It also remains to be seen what happens with Nat Phillips at Liverpool before the transfer window closes. He has been linked with Leeds United and more recently Stuttgart, who previously had him on loan in Germany.