RC Lens defender Loic Bade has become the latest centre-back to be linked with Liverpool this month, and the Frenchman could be the man to solve a key issue in Jurgen Klopp’s defence.
According to Le10 Sport, the 20-year-old is attracting interest from major European clubs after impressing in his debut season in Ligue 1, with Liverpool ‘carefully watching’ his progress with RC Lens.
AC Milan are also credited with an interest in the youngster, with the report suggesting that if he maintains his current form, he could certainly be one to keep an eye on next summer.
Jurgen Klopp is currently desperately short of centre-back options at Liverpool, with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all currently sidelined.
The German manager has been forced to select Fabinho at centre-back for much of the season, with youngsters Nathaniel Phillips and Rhys Williams often the ones to partner him at the heart of the Reds’ defence.
Unfortunately for Klopp, this represents a real issue, as none of these players are blessed with the pace of Gomez or Van Dijk, which is having a real impact on the way Liverpool defend and attack.
The Reds are now vulnerable to balls over the top, meaning they can’t push as high up as they could usually, which allows opposition sides more space in the attacking third.
The absence of Van Dijk and Gomez’s intricate passing is also having an effect on their attacking play, as normally the duo could push up the pitch and find either Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane with a long ball out to the wings, or help to break the opposition down with a pass that could break their midfield lines.
Therefore, signing someone such as Bade could help to solve this issue, as the 20-year-old is perhaps quicker than the likes of Williams and Phillips and has shown himself to be adept on the ball in his time with RC Lens.
Football talent scout Jacek Kulig has suggested that his strengths include pace, tackling, heading, positioning, passing, technique and anticipation.
This certainly suggests that he is a similar player to Van Dijk, with the Dutch international having established himself as one of the world’s best during his time with the Reds, due to his ability to dominate the opposition with his aerial presence, strength and calmness on the ball.
Bade may only be 20-years-old and inexperienced but if Michael Edwards can bring him to Liverpool this month, he could solve a key issue in Klopp’s defence for the rest of the season, whilst also being an excellent long-term prospect for the Reds.
With Transfermarkt valuing him at just £5.4 million, he could also be a relatively cheap option for the Reds in the current transfer window, so they should definitely consider bringing him to Anfield.