Liverpool have been linked with a move for Atalanta defender Cristian Romero ahead of the upcoming transfer window.
What’s the story?
According to Italian outlet Calciomercato (as reported by The Mirror), Jurgen Klopp’s charges are making progress in their pursuit of the 23-year-old as the German manager looks to strengthen his defensive options.
The report claims that the Serie A outfit value Romero at around £43m following an impressive 2020/21 campaign, but they must first turn his loan move from Juventus into a permanent one.
Klopp needs him
Liverpool’s current centre-back options struggled with serious injury issues last season, significantly hindering their progress as youngsters Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams were forced to fill in on many occasions.
Klopp has already moved to address that issue, bringing in Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig for £34 million, although his suspect injury record means the former Borussia Dortmund boss may want to add further reinforcements – the Frenchman has suffered four significant injuries in the past two seasons alone, missing 45 games.
The Anfield outfit finished a whopping 17 points behind Premier League champions Manchester City in the recently concluded campaign, largely down to their leaky defence.
While the Citizens conceded just 32 goals in 38 games, Liverpool let in 42. Building a solid foundation is key to any success in football, and adding Romero would ensure Klopp can construct exactly that over the coming months.
The Argentina international played a pivotal part as Gian Piero Gasperini’s men finished third in the Italian top-flight, making 31 league appearances, scoring two goals and assisting a further three.
Despite his telling contribution in the attacking third, Romero was also crucial to Atalanta’s defensive solidity, making 2.2 clearances per league game, 3.1 interceptions and two tackles, placing him in the top two amongst his teammates for each metric.
His physical style, love for a tackle and ability in the air would make the South American an ideal centre-back in the Premier League, and the possibility of the 6 ft powerhouse lining up alongside Van Dijk is a daunting prospect for any top-flight striker.
The pair have the potential to form a formidable partnership at the heart of the defence, with Romero also excelling with the ball at his feet and building from the back – he averaged the sixth-most passes of any Atalanta player, and with the fourth-best accuracy of any player to have started more than one game.
With Liverpool aiming to regain their Premier League crown next season, Klopp needs an extra centre-back to avoid a repeat scenario that killed off their title tilt in 2020/21, and bringing Romero would be a significant coup.