Jamie Carragher has urged Liverpool to make a January swoop for RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano following the potentially season-ending ACL injury to Virgil van Dijk.
The Reds’ record-signing could be facing seven to nine months on the sidelines following a tangling with Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford at the weekend.
Prior to his injury, Van Dijk hadn’t missed a Premier League match for Liverpool since January 2018 and had clocked up 92 consecutive top-flight appearances. His loss is undoubtedly a gargantuan blow to the team’s title aspirations.
Naturally, talk has accelerated for Liverpool to replace the towering Dutchman in the upcoming January transfer window.
In the view of Jamie Carragher, the Premier League champions should look no further than Bundesliga powerhouse Upamecano.
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Speaking on SkySports, he said: “Liverpool’s next big signing had to be a centre-back anyway and I am talking next summer. Dejan Lovren went and they didn’t replace him so they only have three centre-backs and one of those, Joel Matip, is always injured.
“Here is a young man everyone was talking about at Leipzig, Dayot Upamecano, there is talk of him. Whether he has the profile of van Dijk, I think he is only 6’1″ or 6’2”, so he is maybe not that aerial, but if he is the one they wanted then bring it forward.
“Pay the extra money and do it on January 1st.”
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Upamecano certainly would be a welcomed addition for Liverpool even if Van Dijk were still available.
The France international is already one of the highest-rated centre backs in the world right now following his sustained brilliance for Leipzig last season en route to the club’s first-ever Champions League semi-final.
A void as unquantifiable as Van Dijk’s cannot be solved simply with one solitary signing but adding a player of Upamecano’s quality certainly could have both short and long-term benefits for the Reds.
SportBild claimed this month that Upmecano has a £40m release clause at the end of the season. More than that, Liverpool are very interested in the player.
He’d be a fantastic immediate addition and there’s potentially a sensational long-term partnership with Gomez that undoubtedly would get supporters excited. But Liverpool could really do with him ASAP.
Last season, Upamecano’s teammate Emil Forsberg gave the Frenchman a glowing referral after saying ‘no one gets past him’, and that he ‘could play for any team in the world’ (bundesliga.com)
January is the earliest but his release clause isn’t technically active then. This means that if Liverpool want their man as early as possible then as Carragher rightly suggested they may have to pay heavily to do so.
However, given the nature that Van Dijk’s setback opposes, Liverpool would be wise not to let money get in the way of finding the best possible solution to such a catastrophic injury blow.