According to The Daily Mail, Manchester United are amongst the club’s in the race to sign Schalke defender Ozan Kabak.
It’s claimed the Red Devils could face a bidding war for Kabak as Crystal Palace, Leicester City, Liverpool and RB Leipzig are also keen to secure the services of the 6 ft 1-inch colossus.
There has been plenty of interest in the young defender, with Ed Woodward trying to bring him to Old Trafford, but he faces stiff competition with Premier League rivals Liverpool and former European opponents Leipzig looking to prise him away from the VELTINS-Arena.
Kabak has been one of the few bright sparks in an otherwise dismal season for Schalke, as they remain rooted to the bottom of the Bundesliga.
The Turk has made nine top-flight appearances this season, while he is averaging one tackle and 3.6 clearances per game, via WhoScored.
While Harry Maguire is United’s first-choice defender, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has struggled to find the right partner for the club captain.
Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof are jostling for position in the starting line-up, but both arguably have their flaws, while Timothy Fosu-Mensah is seemingly reaching the end of his time at Old Trafford.
Kabak would be a significant upgrade on most, if not all, of the options currently available to Solskjaer. Standing at 1.86m tall, he is cut from a similar cloth to club legend Nemanja Vidic in terms of both his physicality and style of play.
He’s also drawn comparisons with Real Madrid great Sergio Ramos, which is high praise indeed for someone who is still in the early stages of his career.
You only have to watch Kabak to see how good he is, but the numbers speak for themselves too. Last season, he produced three goals and an assist in 26 Bundesliga games, whilst he averaged 1.4 tackles, 1.4 interceptions and 3.6 clearances per game, as per WhoScored.
Stuggart sporting director Thomas Hitzlsperger was effusive in his praise for his former charge, saying: “It’s incredible how worldly-wise he is for his age. It’s astonishing. I see him every day and am amazed at how mature he is. He wants to know everything; he wants to learn German right away and understand everything. That’s the kind of attitude we need. He’s already a role model, despite his age.”
This sort of maturity would be most welcome in Manchester and to be able to get a centre-half of his calibre who is capable of covering and competing with Maguire and the others for a place in the starting XI would be a smart bit of business by Woodward.