Monday, June 27, 2022

Leicester City Receive Boost In Pursuit Of The Former Liverpool Defender: Why They Must Rope Him In

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Pratyay Maitra
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If a report from Der Westen is believed to be true, Leicester City have received a further boost in pursuit of Schalke centre-back Ozan Kabak. The young defender had a brief stint with Liverpool on loan earlier this year, but the Reds bypassed the opportunity to make his move permanent having already roped in Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig to bolster the backline.

The Foxes, meanwhile, have been keeping close tabs on the player’s situation. Schalke set a valuation of around £18m for the 21-year-old Turkish international. However, no game-time in the ongoing Euro 2020 competition might now force the once-esteemed Bundesliga giants to let their prized asset leave on a cut-price deal due to financial constraints. Die Königsblauen are not capable of paying his wages anymore and are, therefore, ready to listen to offers from the potential suitors prior to next season.

Kabak is an emerging central-defensive prospect with 90 senior club appearances already at such a tender age. He progressed through the youth ranks of Galatasaray before breaking into their first-team setup at the age of 18. He then joined VfB Stuttgart in the German top flight before being snapped up by Schalke for €15m back in the summer of 2019.

Ozan Kabak heading the ball against Leicester City
Leicester City v Liverpool Premier League Ozan Kabak of Liverpool attempts to head the ball clear during the Premier League match at the King Power Stadium, Leicester PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUKxCHN Copyright: xMattxWilkinsonx FIL-15172-0061

The Liverpool Cameo

Liverpool, meanwhile, endured an exceptional scenario with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all undergoing season-ending knee injuries during the previous campaign. The Reds then opted for the youngster on the winter deadline day and handed him a debut against Leicester City within a couple of weeks time. Although it was an erroneous start for him helping the hosts stage a comeback and secure a 3-1 triumph at King Power, Kabak played a key role eventually alongside Nat Phillips en route to cementing a Champions League berth.

Why Leicester Are In Need Of A Centre-half

Kabak, too, got injured eventually ruling him out of the final few fixtures, but the promise exhibited in his Liverpool cameo must have impressed Brendan Rodgers. Leicester City have been spot on with their transfer model in recent years and the addition of Kabak would improve them defensively despite the presence of Wesley Fofana, Çağlar Söyüncü and Jonny Evans.

The FA Cup winners missed out on a ‘top four’ finish once again following the final day defeat against Spurs. The retirement of skipper Wes Morgan would indeed leave a void in the heart of the defensive line, whereas 33-year-old Evans needs to be replaced as well in the long run. Kabak is not the fastest of centre-backs, but his sense of positioning and game-reading attributes help him overcome the limitations. The Foxes must try their luck and step up the chase if he is available in a minuscule figure.

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