Ozan Kabak has lifted the lid on his first days as a Liverpool player and has explained how Virgil van Dijk helped convinced him to join the Reds.
After long-term injuries to all three of their main centre-back options – Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip – Liverpool needed to bring in reinforcements at the back.
The champions opted for Ben Davies from Preston and Kabak from Schalke. Davies signed a permanent contract, while Kabak joined on loan with an option to buy.
The latter was the headline addition, as he has experience of top-flight football in Germany. At the age of 20, he is a particularly intriguing prospect.
It will cost Liverpool a further £18m to the £1m they have paid for his loan if they wish to sign him at the end of the season.
However, that is far less than the £35m Schalke were quoting interested parties last summer.
One transfer expert even went as far to say as Liverpool have ‘had Schalke’s pants down over the deal’.
Jamie Carragher expects Kabak to be handed an instant debut in Sunday’s crucial Premier League clash against Manchester City.
Kabak himself isn’t sure whether he will feature. However, the Turkey defender admits he’s been amazed by the professionalism of his new employers so far.
Speaking to Turkish TV channel S Sport [via Sport Witness] Kabak has explained how Van Dijk’s gesture back in 2018 helped convince him to sign.
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“Everyone was very warm to me during training. I spoke with every member of the team. We had a great talk with Klopp. We have a good and professional team,” Kabak said.
“When Van Dijk sent me his jersey [December 2018], I thought ‘Hopefully I will wear this shirt together with him’, and I am now waiting for this dream to turn into reality.
“Liverpool – City is a huge game. I don’t know whether I will play or I will be on the bench, but I am very excited. I hope we will be the winning team.”
Umtiti ‘wanted ahead of Kabak’
Meanwhile, a report has noted the two reasons why Samuel Umtiti rejected a deadline day move to Liverpool.
As per the article, Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards believed he was close to landing the World Cup winner.
They state sporting director Edwards had an offer to sign the World Cup winner accepted by Barcelona. With finances tight at the Nou Camp, the Spanish giants were fully prepared to let him move on.
Liverpool wanted to sign Umtiti on a loan deal with an option to buy.
However, despite having permission to approach the player, the move was killed dead by Umtiti, who point blank refused the move. As per Mundo Deportivo, Umtiti told Barca he had no desire to quit the club halfway through the season.
Furthermore, they claim he wanted the chance to prove himself to Ronald Koeman after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Umtiti has suffered a number of injuries over the past 18 months and has been restricted to just three league starts this season. But they claim Umtiti now hopes to win Koeman round having featured four times since the turn of the year.
When hope of signing Umtiti was snuffed out, it’s then reported Liverpool turned their attention to Kabak.