Liverpool agree Kabak deal, Mustafi to hitch Schalke
Liverpool have agreed a deal in principle with Schalke to sign central defender Ozan Kabak on a six-month loan with an option to buy, according to Sky in Germany.
The 20-year old Turkey international has already undergone a medical in Germany and is expected to fly into Merseyside in the next hours.
Schalke were unwilling to let Kabak leave without a replacement and have moved to secure Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi after the German terminated his contract at the Emirates Stadium.
Mustafi, who was keen to make the move back to the Bundesliga in search of regular football, has already signed a six-month deal with Schalke ahead of Germany’s 5pm transfer deadline.
Kabak was on Liverpool’s radar last summer and is a long-term target of the club’s recruitment team.
Schalke paid £13m for him in 2019 and he is contracted to the Bundesliga club until 2024.
Liverpool are also close to bringing in Preston defender Ben Davies, with the centre-back undergoing a medical ahead of a £1.6m move to Anfield.
The Premier League champions’ move for Kabak came after they failed in an attempt to sign Marseille centre-back Duje Caleta-Car.
Liverpool were understood to have agreed a deal with the Ligue 1 side for the 24-year-old Croatia international, who has been a regular under Andre Villas-Boas this season.
However, Marseille are believed to have pulled out of the deal amid concerns they could not sign a replacement for Caleta-Car before Monday’s transfer deadline.
‘A huge potential’: The view from Germany
Sky in Germany’s Max Bielefeld:
“There are some question marks from English fans about Kabak but he’s one of the most talented young centre-halves in the Bundesliga.
“Schalke have been in a state of crisis for a number of months so it’s not been easy for Kabak, but he’s really physical, good in the air and is really good in one-v-one situations.
“Jurgen Klopp has followed him for quite some time and they contacted the club last summer for a deal but it couldn’t be reached back then. He’s only 20 so he’s got time to develop and I feel it’s a good fit.
“Even if the other players do come back from injury, you have got a young player in Kabak who will be able to develop in the coming years.
“There are some who feel he will become a world-class defender. He has a huge potential.”
‘Kabak’s agent should get knighted’
Sky Sports’ Paul Merson:
“I feel they are just bringing a couple of bodies in. When Fabinho got injured, I feel that was the moment where they had to drop Jordan Henderson into defence. It’s just a case of getting bodies in. The top-drawer out there are going to be £70m-£80m players.
“When you buy them, they will be on between £100,000 and £200,000-a-week. They won’t be playing in six months when Virgil van Dijk is fit and Joe Gomez is a very good player who will be one for the now. We can all spend the club’s money but at the end of the day, it’s a business. They are not expensive.
“The lad at Schalke won’t believe his luck. If you are his agent, you would be looking to get knighted! He has just gone to the champions… they have just one won game all season! That really did shock me. The lad at Preston is a decent player but it’s a massive jump. It’s just a case of getting bodies in.”
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