Crystal Palace have joined the race to sign Schalke defender Ozan Kabak after his impressive loan spell at Liverpool last season.
Jurgen Klopp’s charges had the option to sign the Turkey international for £18 million this summer but chose to bring in Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig instead.
As a result, several sides are thought to be interested in acquiring the services of Kabak, with Leicester City, Leipzig and Palace all keen, according to German outlet Der Westen.
Due to injury issues and a lack of form, central midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate was forced to play at the heart of defence for the majority of last season.
And while the 31-year-old filled in admirably alongside Gary Cahill, he’s far from a long-term solution to the Eagles’ issues in that position.
Kabak was brought in by Liverpool halfway through the 2020/21 campaign due to a lack of options in Klopp’s ranks.
Fitness concerns involving Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez meant the Reds needed extra bodies at the back, and the 21-year-old recovered from a shaky start to life in England to perform admirably.
Although the youngster ultimately didn’t do enough to convince Liverpool to make his move to Merseyside permanent, his solid displays earned praise from several plaudits, including Klopp.
“Ozan came in at 20 from Germany, was a big prospect but wasn’t lucky with the last two teams he played for; one went down (Stuttgart), and the other will probably go down (Schalke). But nobody really doubted his quality,” revealed the German tactician.
Due to Schalke’s relegation from the Bundesliga and their precarious financial position, Kabak is believed to be available for considerably less than the £18m price tag previously available to Liverpool.
Therefore, Palace chairman Steve Parish could secure a bargain by bringing the £22.5m-rated gem to Selhurst Park this summer, upgrading the capital club’s centre-back options for next season.