Liverpool and Manchester United have been given fresh impetus to make a swoop for RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano, according to reports.
United have been linked continuously with the 21-year-old defender. But a transfer deadline day bid failed to emerge.
It left many thinking the Red Devils were still light at the back.
Liverpool have also looked short in that area. Joel Matip remains injury-prone while Joe Gomez struggled badly in the shock 7-2 mauling at Aston Villa.
It means Jurgen Klopp has had to use midfielder Fabinho alongside Virgil van Dijk at the heart of his defence.
Upamecano took the eye in the Bundesliga last season and his displays helped Leipzig reach the last four of the Champions League.
One major stumbling block for a trade in the window just gone was that his old deal had a £54million release clause.
With no clubs willing to fork out that amount, the Frenchman decided to extend his current stay until 2023.
But that new contract contains a fresh release clause which could be a game changer in terms of Upamecano’s next move.
German outlet Sport BILD claim that the revised deal means that he can leave in the summer for the reduced figure of £36.5m.
That’s a win-win. Potential suitors will be able to bid at a much lower price. And Leipzig, who would run the risk of losing him on a free, can get a substantial fee still.
Sport BILD say that Liverpool and Man Utd are aware of the new release clause. And both are interested in doing a deal at the lower price next summer.
Manchester City are also mentioned in the report. However, Pep Guardiola appears to have dealt with his defensive issues by bringing in Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake.
Ferdinand highlights Upamecano’s strengths
Former Man Utd centre-back Rio Ferdinand gave a glowing review of Upamecano’s talents in a recent interview.
The ex-England defender said: “Upamecano is young, good on the ball, athletic, strong, mobile, plays every game. He’s one you can see coming in right now.
“[Kalidou] Koulibaly has been spoken about for two or three years, he might have missed the boat due to his age. There’s no resale value.
“Upamecano is the one who jumps out to me, when I watched the Champions League last year, he was the one who stood out to me.”
Napoli defender Koulibaly also stayed put during the transfer window despite being linked with a host of top clubs.
The Senegalese international – a big friend of Liverpool’s Sadio Mane – turns 30 next June.