Liverpool transfer officials feel that Arsenal centre-back Shkodran Mustafi fits two key criteria in their hunt for defensive cover, a report has claimed.
Having previously looked to find internal solutions, the Reds are supposedly in a scramble for a new addition.
Indeed, Joel Matip’s injury means that Liverpool will be without any senior centre-backs for the foreseeable future.
But with time running out until Monday evening’s transfer deadline, the Anfield giants must act quickly.
The Athletic says that Liverpool have sent ‘feelers’ out to agents ‘across Europe’ to assess the possibilities and impossibilities that remain in the coming days.
What’s more, the source adds that Arsenal’s Mustafi, who has also received interest, fits the club’s remit.
Firstly, the German is affordable, given he has entered the final year of his contract. As such, he will – at the worst – leave on a free transfer in the summer.
But Arsenal are willing to terminate the player’s contract (via football.london) and let him leave before Monday’s deadline; he does not fit into Mikel Arteta’s plans going forward.
Secondly, Mustafi’s experience at senior level is a key factor in Liverpool’s interest.
Despite his recent struggles for game time, the 2014 World Cup winner has made 151 outings for the Gunners, 102 of those coming in the Premier League.
Therefore, he would add proven leadership abilities to a defence which is currently threadbare; midfielders Jordan Henderson and Fabinho, as well as fringe players Nathaniel Phillips and Rhys Williams, are the only options.
Klopp not aware of big-money targets
Asked in Friday’s press conference about whether he will sign a new centre-back, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp talked about comparing cost and quality.
He said: “Can you separate these two things?
“I am not sure there is an £80million centre-back available at the moment and a club thinks, ‘We can get £80m for him so we will sell him’.
“I don’t think that’s the case. Actually, pretty much I know. This calibre of player the teams would not sell them now. It is both.
“We need to find the right player and one which suits our financial situation, that’s clear as well.”