According to reports in The Independent, Liverpool now lead the race to sign FC Basel defender Manuel Akanji even though Borussia Dortmund are keen to sign the centre-back during the January transfer window.
Well, The Independent says that the Reds and the Bundesliga giants are ready to go head-to-head for the signature of the highly-rated 22-year-old, but the Merseyside outfit may hold the advantage because of Basel’s demands.
Having qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League and drawn Manchester City, the Swiss outfit are keen to keep the promising centre-back until the summer – when The Independent says that Jurgen Klopp would be happy to bring him to Anfield – but Dortmund would prefer to get him in next month.
The report adds that the Bundesliga outfit believe that pacy Akanji has the attributes they need in their defence – which has been leaky so far this term – to cover large sections of the pitch when their other players attack.
He has done very well.
The 22-year-old has established himself as a regular fixture in the Basel backline and has made 28 appearances in all competitions, scoring two goals and providing a further two assists.
According to WhoScored.com, the Switzerland international has won 15 aerials duels and made eight tackles, 13 interceptions, 31 clearances and 12 blocks in his side’s six Champions League group games this term.
He certainly would be, but some may feel that they need a slightly more experienced head at the heart of a defence that really struggles at times.
That said, Akanji has shown in the Champions League this season that he is a more than able defender with attributes that should mean that he is a success in the Premier League, and the 22-year-old’s pace and speed could prove to be a huge help in covering defensively considering the attacking players the Reds have in their ranks.
He would also likely be significantly cheaper than an alternative like Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk, but a potential deal also relies on Klopp feeling he has enough cover for the rest of the season seeing as a deal for the 22-year-old is unlikely to be completed until the summer.