Monday, September 26, 2022

Journalist Provides Update On Liverpool’s Pursuit Of This Schalke Defender: Good Option For Klopp?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent edition of the Here We Go podcast (subscription required), renowned journalist Fabrizio Romano has provided an update on Liverpool‘s pursuit of Schalke 04 defender Ozan Kabak. Romano said (transcripted by HITC),

“Ozan Kabak is so appreciated by the [Liverpool] board. Let’s see what’s going on. At the moment, there is no advanced negotiations. They’re in contact with his agents. They’re scouting the player, but there is nothing advanced yet.”

Kabak’s Unimpressive Season At The Veltins-Arena

The 20-year-old has experienced a lacklustre campaign at Gelsenkirchen thus far as he has conceded a lot of poor goals while operating at the heart of the Schalke backline. The German side are currently sitting rock bottom of the league table after shipping in 36 goals in 13 matches. Kabak has made eight Bundesliga appearances this season picking up three yellow cards and one red card in the process.

The Ankara-born sensation deserves credit for not giving up in the face of adversity and is averaging 0.9 tackles, 1.0 interceptions, 3.3 clearances, 1.0 shots and 1.6 dribbles per game in the top tier of German football. He has even distributed the ball immaculately out from the back as evidenced by his pass success rate of 88% in league football (stats via whoscored).

Journalist provides update on Liverpool's pursuit of Kabak who is seen in the picture
Schalke’s Turkish defender Ozan Kabak controls the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match SC Freiburg v Schalke 04 on June 27, 2020 in Freiburg. – Schalke’s Turkish defender Ozan Kabak controls the ball. (Photo by RALPH ORLOWSKI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

What Will The Turkish Defensive Ace Bring To The Table?

Kabak is a commanding presence inside the penalty box as he can use his strong 1.86m frame to outjump the opposition and win some crucial headers for his team. He is also not shy of putting his foot through the ball to make a clearance when required.

The Turkish whizkid is a decent tackler and can pull off some important interceptions at the back. However, he is still quite inexperienced at the highest level despite showing some signs of progress at Gelsenkirchen over the past 18 months. Therefore, Kabak would need time to settle into life in Premier League football if Liverpool can successfully get him on board in January or at the end of this campaign.

Will Kabak Be A Good Option For The Reds?

Jurgen Klopp’s side are currently going through an injury crisis in defence after the long-term injuries to Joe Gomez and Virgil Van Dijk. Joel Matip has also been in and out of the team due to his fitness concerns. Hence, Rhys Williams and Nathaniel Phillips had to step in to assume the duties of the back-up centre-halves at Anfield this season. Fabinho has also been a real revelation while playing as a makeshift central defender but he might be better used in midfield.

The Reds should consider recruiting an up-and-coming defender like Kabak as he will be a good, mid-season acquisition for Klopp next month. The six-time Turkish international will add more quality to the Liverpool defence and increase competition for places within their squad. All in all, Kabak will be a decent option for the Merseyside outfit during the winter transfer period as he will be a signing for the long-run.

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