Aissa Mandi will join Villarreal this summer, according to reports. The defender has consistently been linked with Liverpool.
This comes from El Periodico Mediterraneo. The Spanish outlet says Aissa Mandi will join Villarreal for next season at the end of his contract with Real Betis.
It’s reportedly significant for Liverpool. Estadio Deportivo linked the two last month but that was simply the latest report.
We first heard talk eight months ago from Cope that Liverpool would buy Mandi. They’d pay £8m to sign the 29-year-old in his final year of his deal.
It was a suggestion that made sense at the time. Mandi would have been an obvious replacement for Dejan Lovren, taking up a fourth-choice role as a centre-back.
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But who needs four centre-backs? What are the odds of your first-choice three all picking up serious, season-ending injuries?
As it turned out, Mandi would have been useful this summer as an experienced, international defender. Instead, attention turned to a potential summer move.
The Algerian would be free and offer the immediate protection that Liverpool lacked in this campaign. It wouldn’t have been the most exciting move, of course, but a sensible one.
But it won’t happen and Liverpool will instead head in a different direction.
No to Aissa Mandi. Yes to future-proofing
While Mandi would offer short-term security, he wouldn’t have helped long-term. Not at 30 years old.
That’s putting a plaster on a stab wound as Liverpool do have a serious problem coming up. There are currently only three senior centre-halves at the club, two of which turn 30 within a year.
Not only do they turn 30 but they’re coming back from long-term injuries. And Joe Gomez, the young option, has a poor injury history with serious issues.
Thus it’s very important that Liverpool look at life after Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip. And it appears they will move this summer to secure their long-term future in defence.
The Sunday World believes that Liverpool want to sign both Ibrahima Konate and Ozan Kabak. Both players are just 21 but with experience at the top level.
If both signings work out, Liverpool shouldn’t have to worry about elite defenders for quite some time. Between Gomez, Kabak and Konate there’s a potentially incredible selection of defenders over 10 years.
But again, everything needs to work out.
Mandi was a signing that made sense in some regards but investing in the future is undoubtedly the right move. Liverpool would need to do it whether they sign Mandi or not – it makes sense to just do it now.