Former Liverpool goalkeeper Chris Kirkland has urged the Reds to sign Burnley defender James Tarkowski as a potential defensive alternative to Virgil van Dijk in the January transfer window.
The Premier League champions could look to the market for defensive reinforcements following the long-term absence of Van Dijk, who is expected to miss the remainder of the season following a knee injury.
Liverpool are currently making do with those currently available at Jurgen Klopp’s disposal, but various alternative targets are being monitored, with David Alaba, Dayot Upamecano and Jules Kounde among those touted with Anfield arrivals.
Tarkowski, 27, is another who has been listed as a viable option for Liverpool to explore in the transfer market with Champions League-winning shot-stopper Kirkland believing Tarkowski would represent a ‘decent’ option for Klopp to explore.
The two-time England international has a wealth of Premier League experience, having clocked up 128 appearances in the top-flight. West Ham were previously interested in Tarkowski and had as many as three bids rejected from Burnley for the former Brentford defender.
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According to Sky Sports, a third bid of £30 million up-front and £10m in add-ons was rejected with Burnley reported to be holding out for a figure in the region of £50m.
Despite the eye-watering figure, Kirkland believes Tarkowski is an option Liverpool should still consider exploring with the transfer window set to reopen in just over a month’s time.
Speaking with FootballFanCast, he said: “Obviously there was a lot of talk about Tarkowski at Burnley. I like him, I think he’s decent.
“You can’t go, ‘well will he do what Van Dijk does?’ Because that’s impossible, nobody does that.”
According to Tranfermarkt, Tarkowski has a contract at Turf Moor until 2022.
What RTK has to say
There is no doubt that Tarkowski would represent a viable target when excluding price especially if you look at the Burnley defender from a statistical outlook.
Similarly to Van Dijk, Tarkowski is an ever-present figure under Sean Dyche, featuring in every minute of Burnley’s 2019/20 campaign last season.
Also, according to WhoScored, other than Van Dijk, Tarkowski scored the highest overall rating for any defender in the Premier League and was included in their Team of the Season alongside the Dutchman.
Last season, Tarkowski averaged more tackles, interceptions and clearences than Van Dijk. He also won more aerial duels than any other defender in the English top-flight.
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