Liverpool trying to tempt experienced free agent to beef up defence

Date published: Saturday 20th March 2021 6:15 - Samuel Bannister

Liverpool remain interested in defender Ezequiel Garay after being linked with the free agent in January, a report claims.

Garay was one of the players Liverpool could have been considering when trying to plug their defensive gaps earlier this season.

Injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez had them weighing up their options at the back. When Joel Matip joined them on the sidelines, they had to take action.

Liverpool opted to sign Ben Davies from Preston and Ozan Kabak on loan from Schalke. The latter has played an important role since his arrival, but Liverpool’s long-term plan remains unclear.

The champions continue to be linked with a number of other possible reinforcements at the back. And now, a suggestion from a few months back has resurfaced.

According to El Gol Digital, Liverpool are trying to find an agreement with Garay for next season.

The 34-year-old has been a free agent since leaving Valencia in 2020. His availability already made him an option for Liverpool before their signings of Kabak and Davies, but it did not seem he was a priority.

However, El Gol Digital believe Garay is still on their radar. The report claims the 34-year-old would add experience and depth to the Anfield ranks.

It seems as though if Liverpool really wanted Garay, they could have signed him already. But the Spanish outlet maintain that the Reds could wait until pre-season to present their offer to him.

That would allow him to get to grips with Jurgen Klopp’s methods so he can be ready for the new season.

Klopp has already denied that Van Dijk or Gomez could be back in time to play at Euro 2020 this summer. Their availability for the start of next season will also be in doubt, although Van Dijk in particular seems to be making strong progress.

But if they are unavailable for the first few weeks of the 2021-22 campaign, Klopp will need other options he can trust. Garay could add the experience they have been lacking.

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In the absence of their usual starters at the back, Liverpool have had to rely on younger options like Rhys Williams (20) and Nat Phillips (23). Even the main player they signed in January, Kabak, is only 20.

Hence, Garay could be the different profile their backline may benefit from.

The report from El Gol Digital suggests an agreement is close, but the two parties still must agree details about the length of the contract and his wages.

Other defenders on Liverpool radar

Garay is not the only defender to have been linked with Liverpool recently. For example, a report earlier this week suggested interest in Alessandro Bastoni.

Bastoni has established himself as one of the most promising defenders in Italy since joining Inter from Atalanta in 2017.

The left-footer is still under contract until 2023, but Inter will have to fend off interest from elsewhere in that time. Several clubs across Europe are monitoring his development.

Among the chasing pack, according to Gazzetta Dello Sport, are Liverpool. What’s more, they would be open to meeting the £43m asking price.

A move for Garay would be much cheaper, as it would not require a transfer fee. However, it would only be a short-term solution in comparison to Bastoni or some of their other options.

READ MORE: Man Utd leading race for Liverpool defensive target

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