Following an eight-and-a-half year Liverpool career full of ups and downs, often on the same afternoon, centre-back Martin Skrtel has ended his Anfield association and joined Fenerbahce for £5.5 million.
It was a move which benefitted all parties, but it hasn’t exactly come at an opportune time for Jurgen Klopp.
Mamadou Sakho might be back from his ban but an Achilles operation will rule him out of the start of the season, whilst youngster Joe Gomez has suffered a setback in his recovery from an ACL tear and Kolo Toure has been released.
All that leaves Dejan Lovren and new signing Joel Matip as Klopp’s only fit senior defenders, and so the German is likely to be looking into the transfer market for a new recruit to provide defensive cover.
Here are five he could target, plus one which would send Twitter into meltdown, and actually make a lot of sense.
The Proven Premier League Player
A Scouser, Scott Dann has hauled his way up the leagues during a career which has taken in loan spells at Danish side Koge BK, Redditch United and Hednesford Town, after failing to register on the radars of the Merseyside clubs as a youngster and beginning his career with Walsall.
Now off the back of steady Premier League seasons with the likes of Birmingham, Blackburn and most notably Crystal Palace, it would appear to be make-or-break time for the 29-year-old if he’s ever going to earn the England recognition that many feel he deserves.
The price tag would probably be prohibitive for Liverpool given that Dann ticks all the boxes of being English, in the Premier League and with plenty of years left on his contract, but the boyhood Liverpool fan would doubtless jump at opportunity to move to Anfield.
The Wily Veteran
Two mentions of Hednesford Town in a piece about Liverpool! What a time to be alive.
Ashley Williams has had career which has taken him from waiting on tables whilst playing for the non-league club to captaining his country in the European Championship semi-finals, and at 32 next month he would appear to be set to finish his career with Swansea City, where he’s played since 2008.
But previously targeted for Liverpool by his old Swans boss Brendan Rodgers, only to be vetoed by the Reds’ owners for being too old, would the Wales skipper fit the bill for Klopp given Liverpool’s need for both centre-backs and leaders within a squad short on both?
The Free Transfer
You don’t often get players under the age of 30 who have both Barcelona and Juventus on their CV available on a free transfer, but that’s the case with the Uruguayan defender Martin Caceres this summer.
That CV also includes five Serie A titles and a Champions League winners’ medal when he was an unused substitute in Barca’s 2009 victory over Manchester United at Wembley, but there remains a feeling that Caceres has had a curiously unfulfilled career beset with both injury and disciplinary problems.
At 29 and having been released by Juve this month he’s looking for a new home, and Liverpool could well provide him with one.
Given that he can also play at full-back, it is a move which makes sense the more you think about it, doesn’t it?
The Big Money ‘Future Of Defending’
It was inevitable that two-time Bundesliga winner Klopp would be linked with moves for Germany-based players this summer, and in the 20-year-old Jonathan Tah he could make a move which would secure the future of Liverpool’s defence for years to come.
Regarded as one of the brightest defensive prospects in Europe, Tah only moved from Hamburg to Bayer Leverkusen last summer, but another switch seems to be in his near future following a fine season which ended with a place in Germany’s Euro 2016 squad.
Easily the most expensive player on this list, Tah would command a huge portion of Liverpool’s summer budget, but he’d be a top class addition.
The Injury-Prone Understudy
More likely than a big money move, however, is a cheaper deal for a player who would be more than happy to sit on the bench if and when required, with Lovren, Matip and Sakho all ahead of him in the pecking order.
Step forward Thomas Vermaelen, with the former Arsenal man having become an expert in sitting and watching during his two seasons as a Barcelona player.
The Belgian has been hugely injury-prone for the last few seasons, but after making it through Euro 2016 unscathed he would appear to be over the worst of it, and he’d offer the Reds valuable and experienced cover if and when required.
Why not just bring Kolo Toure back?
The Ivorian was Liverpool’s best player in his final game for the club, the Europa League final defeat to Sevilla, and always performed admirably when he was called upon by either Rodgers or Klopp.
At 35 he’s obviously not getting any younger, but he’d be a welcome re-addition to a squad in which he was a much-loved character, and he’d also send Twitter into meltdown.
Do it, Jurgen. You know it makes sense.
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