Leicester City have been handed a potentially significant boost in their pursuit of Schalke defender Ozan Kabak.
The Foxes have been heavily linked with a move for the 21-year-old in recent weeks and could now pick up the centre-back on a free transfer following an intriguing development.
“Kabak is rated highly, but Schalke need him to go because they can’t pay him – that is the situation,” Bundesliga journalist Constantin Eckner told the Blood Red Podcast. “Kabak was set to return to training with Schalke after his holidays after the Euros, but they told him to have more days off to find a new club.
“Clubs are interested, but then they find someone else who is more compelling, and Kabak is still outside on the street in the rain. Schalke might even terminate his contract before the end of August, so he has time to find a new club,” added Eckner.
After an injury crisis sidelined all three of Liverpool’s senior central defenders for the remainder of the campaign before Christmas last term, Jurgen Klopp turned to Kabak.
The Turkey international initially struggled to adapt to the demands of the Premier League, although he quickly settled and played a pivotal part in the club’s solid end-of-season form, leading to Klopp labelling him a “big prospect”.
He made 13 appearances in all competitions for the Reds during his six-month loan spell, achieving a highly respectable WhoScored rating of 6.72, but his performances weren’t enough to persuade the Anfield outfit to sign him on a permanent basis.
While Kabak was enjoying a successful stint on English shores, though, Schalke suffered relegation from the Bundesliga, meaning the German outfit are now desperate to offload one of their highest earners as they prepare for life in the second tier.
The youngster has reportedly attracted interest from several clubs as a result, but it’s arguably Leicester who need him the most.
Wes Morgan’s retirement at the end of 2020/21 has left a sizeable gap in the FA Cup holders’ backline, and manager Brendan Rodgers would surely love to replace the former club captain with an exciting, youthful acquisition who’s full of potential.
The Northern Irish tactician has cultivated an enviable reputation for developing young talents, and the £22.5m-rated Kabak could become the latest gem to benefit from his tutelage.