Liverpool are reportedly in talks with Schalke over the signature of 20-year-old defender Ozan Kabak, as Jurgen Klopp seeks to bolster his defence in the new year.
The Reds suffered a massive blow to their domestic and European ambitions following the news that influential defender Virgil Van Dijk is likely to face an extended spell on the sidelines after suffering an ACL injury in the Merseyside derby draw on October 17.
The Dutchman was on the receiving end of a horror tackle from Everton goalkeeper and England number one Jordan Pickford, the former Sunderland man racing out of his goal before clattering into the Liverpool defender inside the penalty area. Controversially there was no red card nor penalty awarded for the incident, with the champions forced to watch their star man trudge down the touchline.
Klopp’s side have since recorded two victories, yet with Van Dijk set to miss the majority of the current campaign at least, it would appear the club already have their eye on a replacement, Schalke defender Kabak being lined up ahead of a January move to Anfield, according to the Mirror.
The report suggests that Liverpool have already opened talks with the German side and would agree to pay an initial £20m fee for the highly-rated youngster.
The Turkey international has already made four senior appearances for his country despite his youth and has continued to impress at club level despite the Bundesliga side enduring a torrid run of form that recently cost former Huddersfield boss David Wagner his job.
The central defender started his career in his native Turkey with Galatasaray, before making the switch to Germany in January 2019 after signing for Stuttgart. Just six months later Kabak was on the move again, as Schalke paid the €15 million fee required to trigger his release clause.
With a move to England now perhaps on the horizon, Kabak would no doubt bolster the Reds defensive unit, with midfielder Fabinho forced to step into the heart of defence in recent games. That said, even before the injury to Van Dijk Liverpool had appeared thin on the ground at centre-back, particularly with Joel Matip struggling for fitness in recent months.