Leicester ‘leading’ Prem duo over saviour Liverpool couldn’t do without

Date published: Tuesday 13th July 2021 1:16 - Steve Pearson

Ozan Kabak Jurgen Klopp Nathaniel Phillips, Liverpool, 2021

Leicester are heading Newcastle and Crystal Palace in the race to sign a centre half that made a telling contribution at Liverpool last year, per multiple reports.

The title defence of Liverpool quickly folded around the turn of the year last season amid a dismal run of form. Injury issues struck hard, particularly in central defence, leading to a pair of January splashes. Ben Davies arrived from Preston North End but failed to make a single appearance.

Instead, it was left to loan signing Ozan Kabak from Schalke to plug the gap alongside a rotating band of partners.

After overcoming initial struggles, the Turkey international played a pivotal role in red down the stretch.

Nat Phillips drew most of the plaudits. But it was his five-match partnership with Kabak that kickstarted Liverpool’s 10-game unbeaten run to finish the season. Without that, Champions League qualification would’ve surely fallen by the wayside.

Liverpool opted against turning his temporary stay permanent. But with Schalke suffering relegation, Kabak’s future will lay away from his parent club.

Now, Sport Witness (citing German newspaper Bild) reveal Leicester, Newcastle and Crystal Palace are all in the mix for the €15m-rated 21-year-old.

Confirming that an exit is likely, Schalke’s sporting director, Rouven Schroder is quoted as saying: “Ozan has inquiries. He has to continue the talks now and advance his way in one direction.”

The publication go on to state transfer negotiations will commence once Kabak has decided which suitor to join.

At present, that would appear to be Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes. A second Sport Witness report (citing Sport1 reporter Patrick Berger) puts Leicester at the front of the queue.

Rodgers’ current options are already the envy of many Premier League managers in the position. Wesley Fofana shone last season, while Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu are established top level performers.

However, a back three was often been utilised at the King Power last year. That is a system that requires greater strength in depth that what they can currently provide.

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Kabak pens heart-warming Liverpool goodbye

Meanwhile, Kabak thanked Jurgen Klopp and the Anfield faithful after penning an open letter about his time with the Reds.

Taking to social media, Kabak wrote: “Dear Liverpool family, I would like to thank you for the compassion and support you have shown towards me since the day I arrived.

“I believe the experience I have gathered during my four month stay here has been a very important one.

“I have learnt a lot from my manager Jurgen Klopp and all my teammates and I was proud to be part of this special family.

“I’ll always remember my days here at Liverpool with great happiness and the special song which you have kindly gifted me. YNWA.”

READ MORE: Leicester in pole position for cut price ex-Liverpool man set for Prem return

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