Klopp delivered vital Real Madrid transfer lift over £98m Liverpool target who came close to Chelsea move
Jurgen Klopp has learned that Liverpool very much remain in contention to sign a top-quality defensive target this summer after trusted journalist Ben Jacobs provided a telling update.
The Reds have struggled badly this season, crashing out of both domestic cups and faltering in the Premier League. They currently sit seventh in the table and, sitting nine points behind Tottenham, face a battle to secure a top-four finish.
Worse still, their last remaining trophy hopes in the Champions League are close to being extinguished. Trailing 5-2 after the first leg against the reigning champions, they face a near-impossible job to qualify for the quarter-finals.
As a result, Klopp knows Liverpool need an almighty rebuilding job this summer. Midfield is likely to be an area of priority with Jude Bellingham their top target. And even though the Borussia Dortmund teenager will command a fee of around £125m, Liverpool on Tuesday received a significant financial boost.
But as well as midfielders, Liverpool will also likely address their defence. Both Joe Gomez and Joel Matip have suffered dips in form this season, while Virgil van Dijk has also been below his best alongside them.
And while there are no doubts over the Dutchman’s future, the same cannot be said for either Matip or Gomez.
Indeed, former Reds star Danny Murphy is advising Klopp to move along six players this summer, with Matip among them.
As a result, Liverpool are also likely to be in the market for a new centre-half this summer too.
Reports earlier on Tuesday suggested Leicester defender Caglar Soyuncu was a potential target as he nears free agent status.
However, Klopp will likely have far grander ambitions than the Turkish star.
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Liverpool given green light to pursue Josko Gvardiol
Indeed, one such big-name star they are also reportedly tracking is RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol.
The Croatian defender has established himself as one of the leading defenders in the world game, despite still being only 21.
His deal with the Bundesliga club contains a £98m exit clause, that though does not become active until summer 2024.
As such, a number of clubs are looking to take advantage of that situation by swooping to sign him for a reduced fee this summer.
Chelsea are very much at the forefront of that chase. To that end, the Blues see Gvardiol as a long-term successor to Thiago Silva. And the west London side saw multiple efforts to sign him fall just short during the summer window.
However, there is also interest from Liverpool too. Indeed, Jacobs revealed to TEAMtalk last week how the defender is one of two big-name defenders they are chasing this summer.
As well as the Premier League pair, Real Madrid are also hot on his trail. Furthermore, recent reports suggested Los Blancos had already struck a deal to bring Gvardiol to the Bernabeu.
Jacobs, though, insists that is not the case. And speaking with Caught Offside, he says the Reds are very much serious contenders to sign the defender.
“Liverpool are tracking Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol, who Chelsea almost pre-agreed a deal for last summer,” Jacobs said.
“The Croatian scored against Manchester City in the Champions League and is attracting plenty of interest, including from Pep Guardiola’s side as well as Real Madrid and PSG. There is a £98m buyout clause, but it doesn’t become active until summer 2024.
“I am told Gvardiol wants a Premier League move and the notion he’s ‘picked’ Real is incorrect.”
In further encouragement to Liverpool, Jacobs added: “He’s also on record as saying Liverpool are his “dream club” because he watched many of their games with his dad when younger.”
Liverpool signing Gvardiol would be a massive upgrade for their defence. He operates on the left-side of a defensive pair; a position Van Dijk usually operates in. However, the Croatian’s signing could allow the right-footed Van Dijk to move across slightly alongside him.
Together that pair would form a solid defensive pairing as good as any in the world game. Should Matip leave, that would leave the Reds with Gomez and Ibrahima Konate in reserve too.
The Reds have tailed off this season, but it is probably quality rather than quantity they need to focus on. Were Gvardiol to join alongside a couple of fresh, young and talented midfielders, Liverpool would surely be in a far stronger position to challenge next season.
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