Jurgen Klopp uses old friend to lure £32m Lovren replacement to Liverpool
Liverpool are reported to have opened talks with Schalke over a deal for defender Ozan Kabak.
As per Bild, Jurgen Klopp has identified the £32m-rated centre-half as his No 1 target to replace Dejan Lovren.
Lovren is closing on a £10.9m switch to Zenit St Petersburg after six highly-successful years at Anfield.
And Klopp has wasted little time in moving to secure his replacement in the Reds squad, with talks for Kabak well underway.
The Turkey international has previously been linked with both Manchester United and Manchester City. Kabak was available for just £12m last summer after a clause in his contract allowed him to leave then-relegated Stuttgart.
However, he was persuaded to join Schalke by incoming new boss David Wagner.
Now after impressing during his year for the Royal Blues, Kabak looks to be on the move again.
Bild claims Klopp and his scouts has watched him extensively and believe he’s the player they have identified.
Schalke have placed a €35m fee on his head (£31.9m) for the 20-year-old, who has four years left on his deal.
But with Schalke willing to sell, Klopp has been in touch with close friend Wagner to persuade Kabak to move to Anfield.
Comments made by Kabak on his admiration of Virgil van Dijk suggest a move to play alongside the Dutchman could be of some interest.
“My personal aim is to become a top defender in maybe two or three years, like Virgil van Dijk. He’s my idol, I really like him,” Kabak said earlier this season (via Metro).
“I like his style and how he plays, so I can say he’s my football idol.”
Liverpool have also been linked with Leeds loanee Ben White. That’s despite Reds scouts identifying one major flaw in the defender’s game.
Whoever they sign, it seems Lovren has played his last game for Liverpool.
Lovren almost left last summer with Roma and AC Milan interested in him.
But last September, Lovren admitted Klopp convinced him to stay at Anfield for another season.
“I wanted to leave, it didn’t happen, I was told Liverpool need me and I accepted that,” he said.
“It was not meant to be for me to leave.”