For reported Liverpool target Ozan Kabak, the international break could not have come at a better time.
Kabak, 20, has endured one of the roughest periods of his promising footballing career with German outfit Schalke, and a two-week sabbatical away from club football could do him a world of good.
There is no doubt that the former Galatasaray wonderkid is one of the highest-rated up-and-coming defenders across the continent yet for Kabak, who has been touted as a potential defensive replacement for Virgil van Dijk, the 2020/21 has been a season to forget.
Kabak has only featured in three Bundesliga appearances this season due to injury and suspension.
However, the more concerning element of Kabak’s lack of involvement is that in every one of those three matches he has clocked up this season, he has conceded a penalty.
Such a remarkable yet worrying series of events continued on Friday during Schalke’s 2-2 draw with fellow Bundesliga strugglers Mainz after he clashed with striker Jean-Philippe Mateta inside the area.
The France U21s international duly converted to spot-kick as Kabak was left feeling with an embarrassing yet familiar sense of deja-vu.
It was Kabak’s first appearance since September following a five-match suspension from the German football authorities after he was shown a straight red card against Werder Bremen following a spitting incident.
While Liverpool continue to monitor Kabak’s progress in the German top-flight, there is no hiding away from the fact that such high-profile mistakes are becoming difficult to ignore.
The four-time Switzerland international was involved in the crushing 8-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in September before subsequently being sent off in the following fixture.
Just days ago, Schalke’s miserable winless run was extended to 23 matches while no team in Bundesliga history has ever conceded more (22) at this stage of the season.
Kabak, for all his outstanding qualities, has been unable to have a positive impact on his club side this season which has so far been a historic campaign for the 1997 UEFA Cup winners for all the wrong reasons.
According to WhoScored, Kabak was ranked as the fifth-highest rated defender in the Bundesliga last season – losing out to Matts Hummels, Dayot Upamecano, Sebastian Schonlau and Dedryck Boyata.
Meanwhile, this campaign has seen a polar opposite in terms of form from Schalke’s defensive lynchpin who has been ranked as the lowest scoring defender in the German top-flight clocking up an average performance rating of 5.41.
German publication BILD reported that Schalke may be willing to do business with Liverpool for £18 million despite Kobak’s reported £40 million release clause in his current contract at the Veltins Arena.
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