Liverpool sources now insist signing a centre-back is “not an immediate priority”

Despite links with a number of centre-backs including Lille youngster Leny Yoro, sources at Liverpool insist signing a defender is “not an immediate priority.”

That is according to the Liverpool Echo‘s Ian Doyle, who claims that following talks between Arne Slot and Richard Hughes, there is a belief in the current options.

The club’s new head coach and sporting director will be working collaboratively when it comes to transfers, and Slot’s first interview revealed ongoing conversations.

Doyle reports that “the Reds believe they have sufficient options across a wide age range despite the loss of Joel Matip on a free transfer.”

Those options are Virgil van Dijk, who will turn 33 next month, Ibrahima Konate, 25, Jarell Quansah, 21, and Joe Gomez, 27.

2X5BNX5 LILLE - Leny Yoro of Lille OSC during the French Ligue 1 match between Lille OSC and Olympique Lyonnais at Pierre-Mauroy Stadium on May 6, 2023 in Lille, France. ANP | Hollandse Hoogte | Gerrit van Keulen

Interest in Yoro, 18, is described as “separate to Liverpool’s expected transfer business this summer,” with the teenager’s availability viewed as an opportunity too big to pass up.

Liverpool are only seen as on “standby” for any deal for Yoro either way, with Real Madrid currently favourites to sign the Frenchman.

It is claimed that Slot, Hughes and the club’s recruitment staff “believe other areas of the squad require more immediate reinforcement.”

This is despite Van Dijk entering the final year of his contract this summer, Konate having yet to start more than 29 games in any of his three seasons at the club and Gomez’s game time largely being spent at full-back.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 12, 2024: Liverpool's Lewis Koumas (L) celebrates with team-mate Amara Nallo after scoring the opening goal during the Premier League 2 Quarter-Final Play-Off match between Tottenham Hotspur FC Under-21's and Liverpool FC Under-21's at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The game ended 3-3 after extra-time, Tottenham won 5-4 on penalties. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Quansah is a shining example of Liverpool’s productive academy, of course, and Slot could turn to his youth ranks again to bolster the defence with Amara Nallo and Carter Pinnington, both 17, candidates.

But the suggestion that signing a new centre-back is not an “immediate priority” is questionable, and in this respect should be taken with a pinch of salt.

The departure of Matip was covered by the emergence of Quansah, but failing to replace the No. 32 would still leave Slot short.

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 16, 2023: Liverpool's Joël Matip during the FA Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Liverpool FC at Molineux Stadium. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Realistically, it would seem as though, along with identifying a long-term successor to Mohamed Salah, addressing the lack of a top No. 6 and potentially replacing Caoimhin Kelleher, centre-back is a clear priority.

Marc Guehi, 23, and Riccardo Calafiori, 22, have both been linked, while Levi Colwill, 21, could also return to the radar.

Only time will tell, though, with much up in the air following Jurgen Klopp‘s handover to Slot and major change in the boardroom.