In terms of Premier League defenders this season, the pick of the bunch has arguably been Southampton star Jannik Vestergaard.
At 28, Vestergaard is at the peak of his powers and has two years of Premier League experience firmly under his belt.
However, does this warrant a case for Liverpool to swoop for the 6ft 6in imposing centre-back?
Making a case for Vestergaard to Liverpool
Given the fact Liverpool are currently without all three of their senior centre backs, there is certainly a strong case to buy a replacement.
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In regards of Vestergaard, there isn’t a better ready-made option given his sustained brilliance this season.
He has been the standout player in a Southampton team that are currently just four points off the Premier League summit, after all. WhoScored have ranked the former Borussia Mönchengladbach star as the most effective defender in the league this season, too.
Also, in terms of quality, he has a number of physical attributes that are strikingly similar to that of Virgil van Dijk.
Similarly, to the Dutchman, Vestergaard is outstanding in the air – winning on average 4.2 of his aerial duels this season.
He is also a major threat from an attacking sense having clocked up three goals for the Saints in 2020/21.
Vestergaard is also competent and effective with the ball at his feet. His average pass completion rate of 84 per cent is amongst the best in the league.
Is this realistic, however?
So, all in all, it seems Vestergaard is Liverpool’s perfect defensive solution, right? In terms of quick-fixes, there isn’t anyone better, after all.
However, this is precisely why Liverpool will not make a move for 20-time Denmark international.
The Reds pride themselves on strategic planning and long-term thinking. Liverpool do not entertain quick-fixes. This effectively makes the prospect of Jurgen Klopp signing Vestergaard obsolete.
The reality is that this is a transfer saga that is just too good to be true. Indeed, a player of Vestergaard’s quality could enhance Liverpool’s title prospects for this season, but in the long-term it just doesn’t make sense.
Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez will eventually return, after all. Once such a scenario transpires, Klopp will be forced to return to his preferred central defensive partnership.
As such, signing a quick-fix in January doesn’t serve Liverpool’s best interests. Vestergaard may be the best alternative to Van Dijk at present, however, once the Dutchman is back to full-fitness there are serious complications.
For one, both players have too many similarities to build an established partnership together.
Typically, the best defensive partnerships – such as; Terry and Carvalho, Vidic and Ferdinand as well as Campbell and Toure – possess different traits that strengthen the other’s flaws.
This is something Gomez and Van Dijk do perfectly. As such, it wouldn’t make sense to sign a player unless they were considered the latter’s long-term replacement.
Given Vestergaard is only a year younger than Van Dijk would argue this couldn’t possibly the case.
Signing someone like 22-year-old Dayot Upamecano next summer seems like a more realistic option from Liverpool’s behalf.