Leicester City are interested in signing Schalke defender Ozan Kabak after Liverpool decided not to activate his release clause.
What’s the story?
The 21-year-old joined the Reds on a short-term loan deal in January as Jurgen Klopp desperately tried to solve his side’s injury crisis at centre-back, but the enigmatic manager has decided not to make the youngster’s stay permanent.
Liverpool had the option to sign Kabak for £18m this summer, however, according to the chief reporter for German media outlet SPORT1 Paricker Berger, the Schalke man is now a target for Leicester and RB Leipzig after the Reds decided to pursue other targets.
Rodgers needs him
The Foxes finished a fantastic 2020/21 in fifth position, narrowly missing out on a Champions League qualification spot after losing in their final fixture for the second consecutive year.
Unfortunately for Brendan Rodgers, his side suffered multiple injuries to key players throughout the campaign and Leicester’s lack of strength in depth eventually caught up with them.
The former Celtic boss has shown himself to be an incredibly astute and flexible tactician during his time at the King Power Stadium, and the Midlands outfit deployed a variety of different formations throughout the recently concluded campaign.
Leicester often switched between a back four and a back five depending on their opponents but significant injuries to star centre-backs Jonny Evans, Wesley Fofana and Caglar Soyuncu often left Rodgers fielding square pegs in round holes.
Full-backs Timothy Castagne and Christian Fuchs did a job in the heart of defence when Rodgers wanted added protection, although the departure of Fuchs and Wes Morgan is set to leave the 2016 Premier League champions stretched incredibly thin if reinforcements don’t arrive over the coming months.
The Northern Irish manager, therefore, needs a player like the £22.5m-rated (as per Transfermarkt) Kabak this summer as he aims to mount another assault on the top four.
After a nervy opening game for Liverpool, the Turkey international quickly settled into life at Anfield, making 13 appearances for the Merseyside outfit and earning praise from Klopp for his assured performances.
“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,” said Klopp earlier in the campaign.
It’s not often a young defender with bags of potential and some Premier League experience comes on the market at around the £20m mark, and Leicester can’t afford to let this opportunity to snap Kabak up on a clever cut-price deal pass them by.