With Dejan Lovren leaving Liverpool, a replacement will soon be needed.
Ki-Jana Hoever and Sepp van den Berg are far too junior to immediately come into the squad, even as fourth choice.
According to reports in Germany, Ozan Kabak could be that man. The 20-year-old Turk has been one of the few bright spots in a shocking season for Schalke. Now, he could be the man to replace Lovren as one of Klopp’s back up centre-backs.
Despite a £41million release clause which will reportedly activate next year, it appears Liverpool believe they can get him cheap. He defends in a similar style to Lovren, on the front foot, stepping up and committing ahead of the line. However, he, unlike Lovren, has excellent recovery pace, able to track players back to his own goal when necessary.
Another benefit of bringing Kabak in would be the way he passes. Liverpool’s centre-backs often playing long balls to their attackers and full-backs to bypass the opposition press.
This is where Virgil van Dijk in particular excels. Kabak is a consistent direct passing threat from the back for Schalke. The young Turk attempts 20.4 long passes per 90 minutes, with a 75% win rate.
He’d be able to come in as a long term option for the Reds next to Joe Gomez. With Virgil Van Dijk and Joel Matip as the more experienced players, there’s time to develop into the Reds long term partnership at the back.
Economically, the transfer struggles to make sense, however. Schalke are apparently wanting to bring in over £30 million for the player, and it’s difficult to see the Reds paying that figure.
With a new forward and left-back also needed, it’d be surprising to see Liverpool splashing that on a substitute centre-back. However, if he is bought, given his age and profile, he could be a perfect target.