Liverpool transfer news: Hamburg star Mario Vuskovic comes into Julian Ward thinking as long-term replacement for stalwart

·3-min read
Mario Vuskovic, Hamburg star in action v Hertha BSC at Volksparkstadion Credit: PA Images
Mario Vuskovic, Hamburg star in action v Hertha BSC at Volksparkstadion Credit: PA Images

Liverpool sporting director Julian Ward is reportedly keeping a close watch on Hamburg defender Mario Vuskovic, with the player earmarked as a potential future transfer target for the club.

The new Reds chief has taken over from Michael Edwards as Liverpool’s transfer guru, with the latter having stepped after 10 years at the helm. He will rightly be remembered as a key figure in the success Liverpool have enjoyed under Jurgen Klopp.

Ward, though, will have learned many techniques and methods from his time working under Edwards as his No 2. To that end, Liverpool will hope the transition is seamless and their success will continue for a good many years yet.

And as it goes, Ward has made a cracking start to life at the helm, helping the Reds secure the club-record signing of Darwin Nunez. And while some have questioned the wisdom of that signing, he has earned a firm defence from Jurgen Klopp.

Part of Edwards’ role was always earmarking potential recruits of the future, or bringing in the best young talents. That has been evident in recent seasons with the additions of Fabio Carvalho, Harvey Elliott and Kaide Gordon.

Now reports in Germany claim the Reds are hot on the trail of Hamburg defender Vuskovic. The 20-year-old defender is seen as one of the best upcoming talents in Germany.

He signed on an initial two-year loan deal from Hajduk Split in his native Croatia. But having made a big impact, they have already moved to make that deal permanent.

Such has been his performances though that Vuskovic has come in for plenty of interest from elsewhere. Indeed, both Wolves and Brentford are among those to have kept a close watch on his progress.

Liverpool among many keen on Mario Vuskovic

Now, as per Bild, Liverpool are joining the list of suitors for the 20-year-old.

They report that scouts from the Merseysiders were recently in attendance for a match against Braunschweig.

The Reds, though, were not alone. Indeed, Bild also report that representatives from Wolfsburg, Frankfurt, Freiburg, Stuttgart, Burnley and an unnamed Italian club also ‘sent observers’.

And while no offers are yet to forthcoming, Hamburg know they will likely face a fight to retain the player’s services.

As such, Bild claims that Hamburg will not entertain any offers that fall below £8.5m (€10m). That said, it’s claimed the 2.Bundesliga club are unwilling to let Vuskovic leave and are determined to resist any offers that come in for the cental defender.

Star seen as future replacement for Joel Matip

With Liverpool keeping a close eye on Vuskovic, the player is reportedly seen as a potential long-term replacement for Joel Matip.

The former Cameroon defender recently enjoyed his best ever season for the Reds, playing 43 times in all competitions. That easily represents his most consistent campaign yet for the Reds – and Klopp will hope he maintains those high standards in 2022/23.

Yet at the age of 30, there is always the feeling that Matip may struggle again with injuries. He has persistently been in and out of the treatment room while at Anfield. In fact, Matip has managed a total of just 166 appearances over his six seasons on Merseyside. That total would have been so much higher but for his various muscular problems.

And while Liverpool appear well stocked for centre-halves, neither Matip or the ever-reliable Virgil van Dijk are getting any younger.

It’s probably for that reason why the Reds were able to convince Joe Gomez to recently commit to a new deal. And one day, the Reds’ backline may well be marshalled by the 11-cap England man and Frenchman Ibrahima Konate.

But Liverpool will need the next wave coming through – and that’s where Vuskovic could become an option.

Meanwhile, Klopp is facing something of a selection dilemma with details emerging over Diogo Jota’s injury.

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