Liverpool have mostly been linked with up-and-coming centre-backs with little experience this window – so reports of interest in Juventus’ Merih Demiral is a change in that regard.
There is an ever-growing list of defenders who the Reds are supposedly keen on – an entirely unsurprising turn of events, given the three seniors at the club are out injured.
Jurgen Klopp has had a big juggling act to do, culminating against Southampton with a midfield pairing of Henderson and Fabinho at centre-back, plus midfielder James Milner at right-back by full-time.
It’s clear a new recruit is needed to bring some stability and natural positional sense to the back line, which seems to have given some sections of the media free reign to invent wildly…or to speculate carefully.
As for Demiral, it’s easy to dismiss the rumour as a less-likely route for the Reds to take.
For starters, the apparent interest stems from Fanatik, a Turkish outlet with a penchant for linking players in and out of Liverpool every few weeks, while they also say the price Juventus want is €50 million—surely not a sum the Reds are going to outlay mid-season.
But other parts of the rumour match up to what we’ve expected so far: a fairly young player, aerially dominant, good on the ball, capable of playing left of centre.
Demiral is right-footed, but has played both sides at the back for Juve – as well as in a three – and compared to the likes of David Carmo (age 21) and Sven Botman (20), has far more senior experience with 19 caps to his name with Turkey and around 70 appearances across three leagues.
As usual, any interest must be capped with caveats.
Demiral suffered an ACL injury last season shortly after breaking into the Juventus line-up, though much of his recovery time was through lockdown and Serie A’s postponement.
The news report suggests he wants to move for more game time to ensure he’s first-choice for his nation at the Euros and the World Cup, but that doesn’t quite stack up: Demiral has started five league games this season, come on as sub once, been an unused sub twice and has been out injured for the other six.
He also started all three Champions League games he was available for, so he hasn’t exactly been overlooked by Andrea Pirlo.
Along with the Reds, the likes of Leicester, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Spurs are said to be keen, but neither Juve nor Demiral are keen on a loan-to-buy arrangement.
This rumour feels a little too unlikely, a little forced in certain areas, to be the one Liverpool end up pursuing, and it’s probable we’ll get a couple more of this ilk until the Reds finally close a deal for their chosen one – hopefully sooner rather than later.