Liverpool are poised to sign Ozan Kabak on a fee less than initial expected due to some financial issues at his parent club, Schalke.
Reds manager Jurgen Klopp has reportedly made adding to his defence a priority after this season. Indeed the wheels are very much in motion to secure a £35.4m signing of Leipzig’s Ibrahima Konate. Liverpool began the campaign with three senior centre-halves following Dejan Lovren’s exit. However, the trio have suffered long-term injuries, leading to January deadline day swoops for Kabak and Ben Davies.
The impending arrival of Konate was expected to spell bad news for Davies – yet to kick a ball for the Reds – and Kabak. Indeed, while Kabak has formed a decent centre-back pairing with Nat Phillips, he was looking like the real victim of Konate’s arrival.
And with a permanent deal for Kabak costing £18m, it seems the Reds would likely abandon their plan to make the Turk a fixture at Anfield.
However, having become aware of that situation, Football Insider claims that financial pressures at Schalke means a cut-price deal could now be on the cards. Indeed, they state Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards is negotiating a half-price £9m deal to make Kabak’s stay permanent.
The Royal Blues are in severe debt and facing almost certain relegation. The gap from 17th placed Arminia already stands at 12 points. And with the club under pressure to reduce their overheads, the sale of Kabak has suddenly become a priority for Schalke.
They state talks are well underway and, with Kabak keen to stay permanently, that deal could soon be finalised.
Kabak may sign over Konate for Liverpool
That in turn would place some doubts over Liverpool’s plan to sign Konate. While sources have claimed the Reds have put the wheels in motion, there has been no official word from the club.
Konate, it’s reported, has passed some of his medical already. However, his questionable injury record this season may yet put the brakes on any deal.
To that end, Leipzig director Markus Krosche says Konate had “no reason to make the move”.
“I think that this [Liverpool transfer] is not an option for Ibu,” Krosche said.
“He has a long contract with us. He knows what we mean to him and what he means to us.
“Ibrahima was unlucky last year as he had a long-term injury but this year he is developing well. He’s an extremely important player that has a lot of potential.
“We want to help him to develop further, and we play in Europe and have a very good team. I don’t see a reason for him to leave us.”
It would seem Kabak now has the ideal chance to cement his future at Liverpool before the season’s end. And when push comes to shove, it could be that Liverpool choose the Turk ahead of the more costly Konate.