According to a recent report from the Mirror, Liverpool are planning a move for Schalke’s young defender Malick Thiaw. The 18-year-old has been described as the new Joel Matip. Matip came up from Schalke’s academy, and he played at the senior level for them from 2009-2016.
Thiaw has made just one appearance in the Bundesliga this season, but it seems like Liverpool already like what they see in the defender. The youngster’s contract runs down in 2021, and Liverpool’s scouts have been watching him closely. Thiaw’s release clause is currently set at £7m. However, the report mentions that the Premier League leaders will need to act quickly as Schalke are looking to tie him down on a new deal with a bigger release fee.
The Coronavirus outbreak has halted Liverpool’s charge towards the title, but it seems like the club is keeping track of players for the future. The Reds might have a vacancy in the centre back department next season if Dejan Lovren goes on to depart from the club.
The Croatian has been linked with a move away for quite some time, and he could be on his way out of Liverpool after he came close to leaving last summer.
Thiaw though is unlikely to come in the picture to play for the first team straight away. The 18-year-old will likely have to prove himself for Liverpool’s u-19 and u-23 side before he gets close to the first team. With established players like Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk around, Thiaw will need to be really special to make an appearance for the Reds straight away.
What is Thiaw capable of?
The 6ft3 defender is known for his ability to dominate his defensive areas. He is strong in his challenges, whether it is in the air or on the ground. However, what makes Thiaw stand apart is his ability to play out from the back. The Dusseldorf born youngster is comfortable in spreading passes out from defence and hence, he can even play as a defensive midfielder when required. Therefore Thiaw’s versatility would come in handy for any team.
However, there is a risk in spending £7m on the defender as he is yet to gain much experience and prove himself in top-flight football. We have seen Liverpool look at bargain deals in the past few transfer windows. Sepp van den Berg was another defender who was brought by the Reds based on his potential. Thiaw could be another one to join that list.