Liverpool make enquiry about PL defender, but vendors insist on £20m obligation to buy
Liverpool have reportedly made an enquiry for West Ham centre-back Issa Diop, according to a report.
The Atheltic report that Jurgen Klopp has asked about the 24-year-old as he looks to plug the gap at the heart of his defence.
Diop is believed to be one of a number of names on Liverpool’s list of targets as they look to make a signing before Monday’s 11pm deadline.
The report claims Liverpool are most likely to make a stop-gap signing in the form of a loan or free-transfer deal, although Klopp is believed to favour a signing who will be with the Reds for the long-term.
However, with the German coach admitting they are being quoted “crazy prices” their search looks like being a difficult one.
Diop though is a possibility with “sources close to the player” divulging Liverpool’s interest.
The defender has made just three starts in the Premier League this season and has not played a minute of league action since December 16.
The Frenchman has fallen out of favour under David Moyes after a promising start to his Hammers career. Angelo Ogbonna, Craig Dawson and Fabian Balbuena are all playing superbly well and Diop is down the pecking order.
The club were thought to have signed a diamond when he arrived from Toulouse in 2018 for £22m. Now though his stock has dropped. And if West Ham were offered around the fee they paid for him now, they may well be tempted to sell. However, the Hammers are not likely to sanction a loan, per the source, unless it came with an obligation to buy for £20m-plus.
What’s certain is that Liverpool’s need to buy is greater than West Ham’s need to sell.
Klopp believes he has been “unlucky” with injuries this season and it’s hard to argue with that.
The latest to join the walking wounded at Anfield are Fabinho and Joel Matip. The Brazilian never made the start against Tottenham after picking up a muscle injury, while Matip was replaced at half-time in the 3-1 win.
With Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez already ruled out long-term, Klopp’s options have narrowed. Jordan Henderson has filled in admirably but Klopp has admitted they are looking for a “solution” from outside.
And there appears to have been a change in stance from the club. Previously Klopp has distanced himself from talk of signings.
But on Friday he said: “My thoughts didn’t change, my words might have.”
West Ham v Liverpool Match Preview, January 31, 2021
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“It’s the same situation as before. We work on this, we don’t always have training and press conferences. If we don’t sleep, we work. That’s what we did all the time. We will see. It’s about a solution, and that’s what we are working on.”
USA skipper Aaron Long has been linked by FootballInsider and ESPN, while Shkodran Mustafi is also on the club’s radar.
Mustafi link alive
The Telegraph reports that most names have been “shot down by the club”. However, Arsenal’s Mustafi – “was not so instantly dismissed”.
Mustafi, who has made over 100 Premier League appearances, has only played nine times in all competitions for Mikel Arteta’s men this season.
He is believed to be in the process of being paid up by the club and could be available as a free agent, which would then remove Monday’s rush to sign him before the 11pm deadline.
“You know the situation with centre-halves out there,” said Klopp. “You know the clubs where the centre-halves are playing and you know the clubs where they are obviously interesting because everyone is talking about them. Tell me if one of these clubs needs the money and needs to sell a player? And if they need money then they want crazy money.
“As a football fan you can sit at home and think, ‘They have to do something’. But that’s not how it works.”
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