Liverpool make £40m star their top target as Klopp plots January swoop
Liverpool are in the process of identifying their centre-back targets ahead of the January window and have placed Dayot Upamecano at the top of the list, according to reports.
The Reds suffered a massive injury blow this week with Joe Gomez now facing lengthy spells on the sidelines. The 23-year-old was injured in training with the England squad on Wednesday and has now undergone surgery to repair a damaged knee-tendon.
Liverpool confirmed on Friday that Gomez is expected to miss the majority of the season and that no timeline has been placed on his return.
With Virgil van Dijk sidelined for a lengthy-spell following cruciate ligament surgery, and make-shift centre-back Fabinho still short of match fitness, Joel Matip remains the only recognised senior centre-back available to Jurgen Klopp.
Inexperienced duo Nathaniel Phillips and Rhys Williams have stepped up in recent weeks, while the likes of James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum can be used as emergency options.
According to reports from The Mirror, Klopp is set to make a move for a new centre-back in January and the Reds are looking at players who can immediately step into the first team.
The newspaper says the likes of Ozan Kabak and Kalidou Koulibaly have long been linked with the Reds, while the Premier League champions have also monitored the RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamenco.
The Athletic now claims that Liverpool have placed the young French defender right at the top of their priority list. The 22-year-old is already a full international with France and he will be available for a fee in the region of £40m.
During the summer transfer window, the defender was heavily linked with a move to a host of Premier League clubs with the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United all linked but a move failed to materialise.
The French international produced a memorable performance as Leipzig defeated Atletico Madrid in the Champions League with a 2-1 victory in the quarter-finals last season. He has managed ten appearances in all competitions for the Bundesliga club this season and has continued to impress.
Although Liverpool have other targets the club feel they can get a better value for money by recruiting an overseas player. Upamecano is already an accomplished defender, but he is far from being the finished product. A move to Liverpool would be an ideal step in his career to take his game to the next level, and it should suit all parties involved if a move transpires this winter.
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