Ozan Kabak of FC Schalke 04 reacts during the 1. Bundesliga match between VfL Wolfsburg and FC Schalke 04 at the Volkswagen Arena on December 18, 2019 in Wolfsburg, Germany. (Photo by Peter Niedung/NurPhoto)

Liverpool ‘contact’ Schalke over deal for centre-back – with €25m fee required

In a flurry of moves at Liverpool as September nears an end, the club are said to have contacted Schalke over a possible deal for 20-year-old centre-back Ozan Kabak.

The Reds moved quickly to bring in both Thiago and Diogo Jota for a combined £70 million this week, with a £10 million exit for Ki-Jana Hoever and a loan for Taiwo Awoniyi also agreed on Saturday.

That may not be the end of Liverpool’s business, with a fourth-choice centre-back possibly on the radar too, with just over two weeks to go until the end of the transfer window.

According to This Is Anfield’s Chris Williams, citing sources from Schalke, contact has been made with the Bundesliga club in a bid to sign Kabak.

Williams adds that Schalke insist that the “squad is settled and not for disruption now the season is underway,” but interestingly, he was “privately told an offer of around €25 million could force a rethink.”

This is not the first time Liverpool have been linked with Kabak, with the Turkey international one of the names regularly touted throughout the summer along with Brighton‘s Ben White and Real Betis’ Aissa Mandi.

Back in July, German publication Bild claimed the Reds had registered their interest in the young defender, with Jurgen Klopp “very interested” in a deal.

The Guardian‘s Ed Aarons added that they are “one of a number of clubs” to have done so, while quoting a price tag of €40 million.

In response to Williams’ report, though, the Evening Standard‘s David Lynch told one fan on Twitter that there was no truth to the rumour, writing “Jota [is] expected to be the last signing of the window.”

Schalke substitute players sit on the bench during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 in Dortmund (Martin Meissner)

Schalke are reported to have amassed debts of around €200 million, and in July, sporting director Jochen Schneider admitted “we need to take a step back so that we can grow again in the future,” adding “we can’t dream anymore.”

So far, they have been quiet in the transfer market, with Weston McKennie’s loan move to Juventus the most high-profile deal, while Goncalo Paciencia has been signed on loan and Vedad Ibisevic brought in on a free.

It is likely that in the future, Schalke will need to sell in order to rebuild, and Kabak is one of their most-coveted assets.

This could be why Williams was told that the club would entertain offers of around €25 million (£23m), and for a proven Bundesliga centre-back who, at 20, has considerable scope for improvement, it could be a bargain deal for Liverpool.