Liverpool have opened talks with Schalke about a £20million New Year swoop for young defender Ozan Kabak.
The Reds told the Bundesliga club that they want to take the 20-year-old Turkish centre-back to Anfield after learning they had lost Virgil van Dijk for the season with a torn cruciate ligament.
Jurgen Klopp is a big admirer of Kabak – and Liverpool would have made their move in the summer had the pandemic not struck to limit their transfer spend.
Schalke valued Kabak at £40million before covid-19 ravaged the game’s finances.
They are still looking to bank £30million but Liverpool are preparing a deal that would see them pay an initial £20million with further payments loaded into the deal.
Van Dijk is not expected to play again this season after suffering serious knee damage from a challenge by Everton’s Jordan Pickford in last weekend’s Merseyside derby.
Kabak has been at Schalke for just over a year after arriving from Stuttgart for £13million when they triggered a clause in his contract.
Born in Ankara, he came through the ranks at Galatasaray before moving to Germany.
He has played four times for Turkey after representing his country at youth level since the age of 14.
Liverpool are keen to repeat last season’s success – and you don’t want to miss a thing, surely?
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It’s been an extremely interesting start to the season for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
They got their title defence off to a shaky start as they edged out a seven-goal thriller against Leeds, before going on to conceded seven in a hammering by Aston Villa.
Virgil van Dijk’s season was ended by injury in the 2-2 draw at Everton, leaving the title favourites looking far less secure at the back – especially with Alisson’s injury worries too.
But there’s no slowing down in what is going to be a busy campaign – with Klopp ensuring his men continue at full pace as they bid for more title glory.
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Van Dijk is yet to go surgery and his place in Holland’s squad for next summer’s European Championships is in serious doubt too.
Regarding a time frame for his recovery, Klopp said this week: “We don’t even want to know it, to be honest. It will take time, that’s clear.
“In the end, it’s really like this: all people are different and so we should not limit that by saying ‘for him it was that long, for him it was that long’.
“I think it makes sense from a specific moment in the recovery, in the rehab time, that it becomes individual because then everybody copes differently with it and each body. That’s why [there is] no need.”
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