Newly crowned Premier League champions Liverpool are looking to bolster their ranks with the signing of highly-rated Turkish centre half Ozan Kabak, according to reports.
The Schalke defender has had an impressive season in the Bundesliga and has also attracted attention from Manchester City, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund.
The Gelsenkirchen based club have reportedly set a £40million asking price for the 20-year-old but given Kabak’s potential this could turn out to be a great deal for the Reds.
With Dejan Lovren moving on to Russian side Zenit St Petersburg Liverpool could certainly do with signing another centre back and Kabak certainly fits FSG’s mould.
Young, talented and having already established himself in the European game Kabak’s potential could be unlocked further under Jurgen Klopp as has been seen with countless young players over the years.
Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez have established themselves as the first-choice centre backs at Liverpool and while Joel Matip is a more than capable deputy his injury record means that this is an area Liverpool really need to invest in.
Adding Kabak to their ranks would be a fantastic move for the club especially given the impact he’s made at Schalke this season.
So what kind of defender is Kabak?
Well, perhaps his biggest strength is his ability in the air. For such a young defender he is a commanding force in the air winning on average 2.9 aerial duels per match. This might not seem very much but when you compare it to Joe Gomez who wins 2.7 per match you can see he’s in good company.
Like Liverpool’s centre backs Kabak also likes to bring the ball out from the back. Getting the ball at his feet and dribbling into the midfield is a stand-out feature of his game and something that would complement Liverpool’s style perfectly.
Liverpool are also not averse to playing it long on occasion getting the front three in behind the opposition’s defence. Kabak has also shown he can do this at Schalke and while he perhaps does need to improve when it comes to his passing where better to learn and develop than at the current champions?
The biggest stumbling block is perhaps the fee. While it is important to build on a successful season with some new faces, all the noises coming out of Liverpool seem to be saying the same thing. Liverpool won’t spend big.
Kabak reportedly has a £41m release clause that comes into effect next summer so Schlake will be reluctant to let him go for significantly less than that.
If Liverpool are unwilling to splash the cash they could risk Kabak being stolen away by another of Europe’s elite clubs.
One thing they do have in their favour is Klopp’s strong relationship with Schalke boss David Wagner with the pair having worked closely together at Dortmund.
It remains to be seen whether Liverpool secure Kabak’s signature but one thing is for sure, Liverpool must bolster their squad this summer. This includes a replacement for Lovren but also in other areas such as another left-back and attacking player.
The Reds may also take a look at the relegated sides to see if there are any bargains on offer.
If they don’t improve the squad they may find their title defence that little bit more difficult.