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 linked with January move for centre-back Ozan Kabak

Liverpool are being linked with a January move for Schalke defender Ozan Kabak, as they look to fill the void left by Virgil van Dijk‘s long-term injury.

Van Dijk’s cruciate ligament injury has rocked the Reds, with the Dutchman not expected to play again this season after a shocking challenge from Jordan Pickford last weekend.

Various players have been linked with a switch to Anfield in the January transfer window, in order for Jurgen Klopp to have an extra option at centre-back.

The likes of Dayot Upamecano, Kalidou Koulibaly and Conor Coady are three names to have been mentioned in recent days, but new reports suggest Kabak is the man Liverpool are eyeing.

According to RMC Sport, via This Is Anfield’s Chris Williams on Twitter, the Merseysiders are preparing an offer for Kabak, with a view to signing him in January.

The Reds want the deal sorted before the window opens, in order to have the 20-year-old ready to play a part as soon as possible.

It’s claimed that Schalke would accept an offer of around €30million-€40million, with German journalist Manuel Veth also stating that he expects Liverpool to bid for the 20-year-old.

In addition, the Sunday Mirror claim Liverpool have opened talks with Schalke.

The Turkey international has built a reputation as one of Europe’s most exciting young centre backs, making 26 appearances for Schalke in the Bundesliga last season, as well as two this term.

While not quite the physical specimen that Van Dijk is – Kabak is 6″ 1′ tall – he still possesses an aerial presence, winning an average of three aerial duels per game this season. In comparison, Van Dijk was averaging 2.4 before his injury.

On top of that, Kabak’s pass completion rate of 91.1 percent suggests he would fit right in at Liverpool, thriving under Klopp’s ball-playing style.

With Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Fabinho the only established centre-backs Liverpool can call upon, the importance of signing someone else in January is undeniable.