Liverpool could exploit PSR transfer deadline to sign man they had in mind to replace Fabinho

Boubacar Kamara of France looks on from the bench prior to the UEFA EURO 2024 European qualifier match between France and Gibraltar at Allianz Riviera
-Credit: (Image: Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images)

Liverpool had to wait until after last season started before they were finally successful in their efforts to sign a new defensive midfielder.

After unexpectedly losing Fabinho and Jordan Henderson to Saudi Arabia, and with Stefan Bajcetic still sidelined, the Reds were in desperate need of a new number six. They infamously moved for both Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia, only to miss out on both to Chelsea, before eventually settling on the left-field signing of Wataru Endo from VfB Stuttgart.

The Japan captain has previously admitted he is well-aware that such an opportunity would not have arisen if Liverpool had not been scrambling around for a solution after numerous transfer disappointments. Fortunately his arrival paid off, with the 31-year-old proving himself to be one of the Reds’ best players in Jurgen Klopp’s final season in charge.

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But it is clear that Endo is not a long-term solution for Liverpool. And with the Reds having been left short at number six last season, with Alexis Mac Allister often having to play out of position to fill the deeper role, the Japanese himself has admitted he wants to see new head coach Arne Slot bring in another defensive midfield option.

Liverpool have already been linked with such players, including Atalanta’s Ederson. However, it’s understood that the Brazilian doesn't feature highly on their shortlist of potential signings. So where could the Reds be looking instead?

Well there was a third name on their transfer shortlist last summer before they were knocked back by Caicedo and Lavia and settled on Endo. Last August, The Athletic reported that Aston Villa’s Boubacar Kamara name also ranked highly when the club’s data department started passing on information regarding possible replacements for Fabinho.

At the time, the France international was just starting his second season with Aston Villa, having established himself as first-choice after being signed by Reds legend Steven Gerrard on a free transfer from Marseille in May 2022.

Fast forward a year and Villa are having to sell players in order to stay on the right side of the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules, despite qualifying for the Champions League. Premier League clubs are attempting to sell players before the deadline of June 30 to comply with financial rules, with there an opportunity to snap up talent as a result.

Tim Iroegbunam has joined Everton in a £9m deal while Morgan Sanson has signed for Nice. Meanwhile, Chelsea have made a £20m move for Omari Kellyman and are in talks regarding a deal for Jhon Duran, Juventus look set to sign Douglas Luiz for £42.3m (though will receive £18.5m for Samuel Iling-Junior and Enzo Barrenechea moving the other way) and Tottenham Hotspur have reportedly had a bid rejected for Jacob Ramsey.

However, despite Kamara reportedly being on Liverpool’s radar last summer, there is one glaring issue that would likely prevent the Reds from taking advantage of Villa’s current predicament and snapping up the midfielder before the end of the month - his season was ended by an ACL injury back in February.

Consequently, he would be unlikely to even return to individual training until after pre-season has finished and the new season has got underway at best. Given the serious nature of such a knee injury, it would be a gamble to sign the Frenchman even if available for a cut-price fee.

The France international has made 56 appearances for Villa to date, but missed 34 games because of injury after also suffering knee and ankle issues in his first season at Villa Park.

Still only 24, Liverpool could potentially continue to monitor Kamara following his return from injury, watching on with interest to see if he could capture his previous levels. But as Virgil van Dijk can vouch for, it certainly takes time after such a lay-off.

Consequently, while Kamara was mooted as a possible Fabinho replacement last summer, on this occasion it is a transfer opportunity the Reds won’t be grasping.