Liverpool’s list of defensive targets this summer continues to grow following latest reports as Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League winners have been reportedly been linked with a move for Sevilla’s Diego Carlos.
Following Liverpool’s reported interest, here is an in-depth analysis as to who and why Carlos has become the latest subject of interest at Anfield.
Who is he?
Carlos, 27, is a bit of late bloomer defensively playing in Ligue 1 with Nantes up until last summer after signing for Sevilla. He is now considered one of La Liga’s best centre backs and is heavily sought out by a number of rivals.
Carlos was a mainstay in the Sevilla team last season having clocked up 41 appearances in all competitions and was pivotal in the Spanish outlet securing Champions League qualification for next season.
Having made it into Europe’s most elite competition for the 2020/21 campaign, it is unlikely that Carlos will want to drop down into the Europa League which could hand Liverpool a significant advantage in negotiations if the Reds’ interest is concrete.
Carlos has been in Europe since 2014 when he pitched up at Estoril in Portugal before moving to two-time European Cup-winners FC Porto.
After a loan spell at Porto’s B team before processing into the first-team ranks, Ligue 1 side Nantes swooped for the imposing and strong centre back swooping in with a £1.8m fee.
His most memorable moment for the French outfit came during a fixture with Paris Saint Germain following an accidental collision with referee Tony Chapron.
The official followed up the incident by kicking out at Carlos before handing him a second yellow card and sending him off. Eventually, the card was rescinded while Chapron was suspended and then retired.
In case you somehow missed it last night, here's referee Tony Chapron kicking out at Diego Carlos and then sending the Nantes player off… 😳 pic.twitter.com/r8zXIk3dK2
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) January 15, 2018
Carlos’ sustained performance levels were rewarded with a £15 million move to Sevilla.
His inaugural campaign under former Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui was a stellar one. Carlos was partnered by Jules Kounde and together the defensive duo helped solidify a Champions League finish with the team conceding just 34 league goals all season.
Style of play
Renowned for his streetwise combativeness, Carlos is one of the most opposing central defenders on the market.
His defensive instincts can be a bit rash at times with the player culpable of diving into challenges far too easily which would not translate well in the Premier League and Liverpool.
However, his reading of the game is very impressive with Carlos averaging five per game – the joint-most in Spain this season.
His long-range passing is also an asset to be reckoned with and could be utilised by Liverpool who themselves on occasion enjoy more direct cross-field balls.
How will he fit in?
Dejan Lovren’s exit coupled with Joel Matip’s ongoing injury woes have created a greater need for central defensive cover next season.
Also, Matip’s reported interested with Paris Saint Germain has only intensified the number of options that have been touted with Anfield moves this summer.
The Cameroonian defender featured just nine times during Liverpool’s title-winning campaign which would suggest that even with Matip on board, defensive cover wouldn’t go a miss.
Carlos is more experienced and in the peak years of his development compared to Joe Gomez – who is currently deemed by Klopp as Virgil van Dijk’s preferred defensive partner.
If Carlos were signed it would create some healthy competition amongst the squad and would showcase that Liverpool are not resting on their laurels after securing the club’s first league title in 30 years.
The main difficulty regarding a potential transfer and the definitive factor that questions the validity of the reports is Carlos’ price-tag.
Sevilla put a €70m (£63m) release clause into the player’s contract immediately after the club landed him last summer.
The ongoing global pandemic and economic uncertainty would dictate that Liverpool are unlikely to spend such eye-watering figures on a defender approaching the latter stages of his career.
Also, Liverpool have showcased in the past that such gargantuan fees are only spent on players the club deem to be transformative players such as Van Dijk and Alisson Becker.
Considering Liverpool’s current defensive prowess coupled with the long-term development of Gomez, the transfer committee spending such money on Carlos seems unlikely.
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