Liverpool have been linked with countless players over the past few months. Jurgen Klopp has seen his Premier League-winning squad decimated by injuries and reinforcements are needed as a result. One urgent area of addressing is in the centre-back department. Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi is the latest name mentioned as a viable target.
Liverpool injury woes
Having begun the season with three established options in central defence, Klopp has lost all of his seasoned defensive lieutenants.
Virgil van Dijk’s season was cast into major doubt having ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament against Everton on October 17.
Joe Gomez, too, was sidelined shortly after, with another serious knee injury sustained while on England national team duty in November.
Now Joel Matip, who himself has endured a stop-start season, has delivered the final nail in the injury coffin for Klopp.
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The 29-year-old defender suffered ankle ligament damage during the 3-1 victory at Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday evening. Klopp confirmed the latest setback to Matip left him “pretty emotional” after the match.
Even make-shift central defender Fabinho has been ruled out of the clash with West Ham on Sunday as a result of a muscle problem.
Liverpool mentioned in moving for Mustafi
There have been plenty of links between Liverpool and defenders in recent weeks.
Dayot Upamecano, Ben White, Sven Botman and Ibrahima Konaté are among the high-profile names suggested to be of interest to the Anfield hierarchy.
However, none of the aforementioned targets are realistic in the current financial climate.
And as a result, Arsenal defender Mustafi has been mentioned as a more realistic alternative for Klopp and Liverpool, per BT Sport.
The 28-year-old defender is out-of-contract at the Emirates Stadium this summer, after all.
Solving two problems at once
Liverpool signing Mustafi from Arsenal would effectively kill two birds with one stone for Klopp.
The potential repercussions of failing to address such a defensive issue in the coming days were crystal clear for all to see against Spurs.
Liverpool simply have to sign a centre-back before the Monday transfer deadline. Inaction is no longer an option.
So, given Mustafi’s age, experience and the fact Arsenal are actively looking to sell, there is the potential for a shrewd acquisition.
Also, the arrival of Mustafi would effectively fill the void left following Dejan Lovren’s departure last summer.
Indeed, Mustafi – who currently earns £90,000-a-week at Arsenal according to Spotrac – is a step-down from previously mentioned names, but making a proactive gamble is certainly better than doing nothing from Klopp’s perspective.
We could get Mustafi on the cheap, too, and still, have scope to pursue the likes of Konate and White in the summer.
Given Matip’s abysmal record with injury, he clearly is a player Liverpool will look to replace in the long-term, as reported by The Independent.
Signing Mustafi, then, could be in the immediate interest of the club when you factor in the financial aspects involved.