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Ozan Kabak joins Liverpool on a loan deal with an option to buy at the end of the season

Liverpool have completed another centre back signing on deadline day with the champions signing Ozan Kabak on loan from Schalke for a £1m fee.

The loan deal comes with an option to buy at the end of the season even though Schalke were fighting for an obligation to buy on the deal.

Unfortunately for the team bottom of the Bundesliga they did not get their wish but have signed Shrokdan Mustafi as their replacement.

The world cup winner was one of the players who was offered to Liverpool, but Michael Edwards and the recruitment department have pulled off a fantastic deadline day by signing Kabak who has been heavily linked with Liverpool for some time.

It is effectively a six-month trial for the Turkish international with Liverpool not being pressured into agreeing a deal to buy Kabak at the end of the season.

If the obligation were agreed the fee would be around £30m which is probably why Liverpool did not want to commit themselves to the deal but if they do want to buy the cost will be £18m plus add-ons with a five-year contract already agreed.

Kabak, who is only 20 years old, was lined up as Dejan Lovren’s replacement in the summer but the deal did not materialise due to Schalke wanting £35m at that time, but now with them looking nailed on for relegation as well as being debt they did not have the upper hand in negotiations. 

It did not look like the deal would happen in January as Liverpool were linked with several other centre backs before Kabak.

Sven Botman from Lille, Duje Caleta-Carr from Marseille and David Carmo from Braga had all been linked during the window with Liverpool trying to find a centre back to best fit their style.

Braga had in fact turned down two bids from Liverpool for Carmo suggesting that he may have been the first choice.

But overnight going into deadline day Kabak’s named had popped again and with several hours to go the deal had been done.

The fact that Liverpool are consistently having to play their midfielders at the back would suggest that Kabak will slot right into the backline, even though Jurgen Klopp never likes to throw new signings straight in.

However, with no fit senior centre backs at the club it would seem he does not have an option.

The right-footed defender started his career at the Galatasaray youth academy in 2011 making his senior debut for the club in 2018 before moving to Stuttgart for around £9.7 million in January 2019.

He impressed in the half season he spent at Stuttgart meaning that Schalke forked out £13.5m for him at the end of the 2018/19 campaign.

In one and a half years at Schalke Kabak has played 42 times for the club being managed by Klopp’s friend David Wagner, before he was sacked, who recommended him to Klopp.

Schalke have been struggling immensely this season as they sit bottom of the league with only eight points to their name.

That should not worry anyone though as we have seen that who the players sign from does not matter with the likes of Andy Robertson, Xherdan Shaqiri and Gini Wijnaldum all signed from relegated clubs.

A key stat for Kabak which would have stood out for the recruitment department would be that on the last two seasons in the Bundesliga he wins four aerial duels a game on average and he wins 70% of the duels he attempts.

With Liverpool missing the height and aerial dominance of Virgil Van Dijk it is important to try and replace that, but he must get used to having much more possession of the ball due to the stark contrast between Schalke and Liverpool.

At just 20 years old the young defender will have some issues for Klopp to iron out which is expected, and he must know that he cannot ever spit at an opponent which got him banned for several games this season.

He will have learnt from that mistake and Klopp will not tolerate any immaturity such as that.

Kabak will want to adapt well and prove himself after pushing for the deal once his medical was done on deadline day to make sure that the champions pursue with the option to buy come the end of his loan.

A centre back finally for Liverpool who will need to play out his skin to convince the hierarchy to buy.

Surely another win win deal for both player and club.

Written by Elliot Thompson

READ MORE: Liverpool sign centre back Ben Davies from Preston for £2million

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