Premier League • England

Liverpool race ahead of Man Utd, Tottenham by making first move for £44m defender ready for Van Dijk partnership

Boulaye Dia and Perr Schuurs

Liverpool have accelerated their interest in Torino defender Perr Schuurs, who is also of interest to a couple of Premier League rivals, according to a report.

Schuurs has been of interest to Liverpool for a while, having undergone a trial with the club when he was 17. Now 23, the defender has been enhancing his reputation since leaving Ajax for Torino.

This season, Schuurs has played 19 times in all competitions for Torino. In the process, he has caught the attention of several bigger clubs. Liverpool, for example, have not lost sight of him.

According to Tuttosport, Jurgen Klopp’s team have made the first move for Schuurs, whom Torino could sell for a profit in the summer.

Indeed, the Serie A side are apparently holding out for €50million, or about £44m, for the Dutchman. They are hoping to cause something of an auction for his transfer.

Torino are aware of mounting interest from Premier League clubs for Schuurs. As well as Liverpool, there have been surveys by Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.

But it seems that Klopp’s club are ahead of the competition at present. It is not yet clear if they are willing to meet Torino’s asking price for Schuurs, who is under contract until 2026 with the option of a further year.

The centre-half has been working his way into contention for the Dutch national team, where he could form a partnership with Virgil van Dijk. Theoretically, the same pairing could link up at Liverpool.

Other than Van Dijk, Liverpool currently have Ibrahima Konate, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Nat Phillips as their main centre-back options. But there is a growing feeling that Matip will be moved on in the summer, while the Reds are unlikely to stand in Phillips’ way of an exit again.

Besides, Van Dijk is beyond the age of 30 now and hasn’t been as dominant this season, so there may even be a need for Liverpool to look to a future beyond him.

Schuurs could help Liverpool evolve defence

Therefore, Liverpool will be looking at potential successors for their defence. At the age of 23, Schuurs has the potential to step up for the long term.

He would have to deal with heightened pressure at a club like Liverpool. But if he remains on their radar more than half a decade after his trial, he is evidently someone they believe in.

Looking over their shoulders, though, Liverpool will have to be wary of Man Utd and Tottenham. Both alternative suitors for Schuurs are above the Reds in the Premier League table at present; they may be more likely to qualify for European competition at this rate.

Man Utd are reportedly preparing to sell their captain Harry Maguire this summer. In turn, they will need fresh competition for their starting partnership of Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez.

Meanwhile, Tottenham could do with upgrading their defence, since the likes of Davinson Sanchez and Japhet Tanganga could leave.

Hence, Schuurs could spot at least a squad role for himself at any of the three clubs. He may have to be patient to become a regular starter for any of them. But he has been building up his reputation regardless.

It will be interesting to see what his next move is – and whether it will come this summer.

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