Liverpool ‘head scratching’ over defender links, as long-term plan emerges

Date published: Monday 26th October 2020 11:59 - Samuel Bannister

Virgil van Dijk TEAMtalk

Liverpool are nonplussed by speculation linking them with a January bid for the likes of Schalke defender Ozan Kabak, according to a report.

Liverpool recently suffered a huge blow to their hopes of retaining their Premier League title when influential defender Virgil van Dijk suffered an ACL injury.

It has left them with just Joe Gomez and Joel Matip as recognised centre-backs, after they opted not to sign a replacement for Dejan Lovren over the summer.

Midfielder Fabinho has had to drop into defence to provide cover, with Gomez and Matip still remarkably yet to start a game alongside each other at centre-back despite both being at Liverpool for four years.

Even though Fabinho has impressed at the back, Liverpool have been tipped to enter the transfer market in January to add cover for the position.

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While some of their reported targets have been cheaper suggestions, some have urged them to sign a more expensive defender who could eventually be van Dijk’s first choice partner.

For example, links with rising RB Leizpig star Dayot Upamecano have emerged. The French defender has a value in the region of £40m to £50m.

Another of the more high-profile suggestions is Kabak. The 20-year-old costs around €30m.

However, according to the Liverpool Echo, neither Kabak nor Upamecano may end up at Anfield after all. In fact, the Premier League champions could decide against signing a defender entirely.

The report claims that links with Kabak have “been met with some head scratching” by club officials, for example. A source has told the newspaper that it could simply be “the work of an exuberant agent and a team desperate for the cash.”


Ben White a long-term option

The Liverpool Echo insist it is “too soon to say” whether or not a defender will arrive. But if one does, it is more likely to be a long-term prospect – and a deal may wait until the summer, rather than January.

By that time, van Dijk could still be unavailable, depending on the progress of his recovery. Hence, it will still be important for Liverpool to add depth to ensure they start next season strongly.

One potential target would be Brighton defender Ben White. Liverpool are long-term admirers after watching his progress on loan at Leeds last season.

Now, White is growing in stature in the Premier League back at Brighton, and Liverpool are still following his development.

However, it is unlikely that the 22-year-old would leave Brighton mid-season. Therefore, Liverpool may have to wait until next summer.

READ MORE: Liverpool urged to launch Prem raid for ‘ready-made’ Van Dijk replacement


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