Liverpool contact German club over swapping Origi for 'sensational' centre-back

Ozan Kabak of Schalke runs with the ball during the Bundesliga match between FC Schalke 04 and Bayer 04 Leverkusen at Veltins-Arena on December 06, 2020 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.

Liverpool have made contact with Schalke over a possible swap deal for defender Ozan Kabak in January.

Reports in Germany claim the Reds are even willing to part with Champions League hero Divock Origi to land the 20-year-old Turkey international… but they have plenty of competition.

Jurgen Klopp is said to be keen on signing a new centre-back when the January transfer window opens to bolster his injury-ravaged back-line.

The champions have coped brilliantly without first-choice defensive partners Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez throughout the first half of the season. Both stars suffered long-term injuries during the opening weeks of the campaign, and yet the Reds are heading into Christmas at the top of the tree for the third straight year.

But with both Van Dijk and Gomez still a long way off returning, Klopp wants to bring a new centre-back to Anfield, rather than rely on midfielder Fabinho and youngsters Rhys Williams and Nathaniel Phillips to lead their bid to defend their Premier League title.

Sky Germany report the Merseyside giants have registered an interest in Kabak, and have already made contact with Schalke over a possible deal next month.

Kabak only joined Schalke from fellow German club Stuttgart last summer, June 2019. He left boyhood side Galatasaray that January, but impressed so much that Schalke paid his €15million release clause just six months later.

His contract runs until June 2024, and he has been described as ‘sensational’ value at between €15m-€20m.

Kabak already has seven senior international caps for Turkey, and has the likes of RB Leipzig, Milan and Manchester United nipping at his heels.

Sky Germany claim, however, that a move to Italy is ‘Plan B’ for the young defender, who would prefer to join a bigger Bundesliga club or make the switch to the Premier League.

Schalke are said to be ‘ready to sell’, and reporter Marc Behrenbeck has revealed Liverpool’s interest is genuine, as is their plan to offer Origi in exchange.

The Belgian striker is a firm favourite with Reds fans for the huge role he played in the club’s sixth European Cup win two seasons ago, but he has only made seven appearances in all competition this season.

And with Schalke in need of an attacking player, it’s a deal that could work, according to Behrenbeck.

Leipzig are also very real contenders for his signature, though.

The report claims the Bundesliga side see the 20-year-old as a successor to Dayot Upamecano or Ibrahima Konate – with both players being linked with exits in recent windows – and have also made contact over a deal.

Despite all the praise for Kabak, Schalke have been in dire straits throughout 2020 – winning just once this calendar year, all the way back on January 17.

They sit rock bottom of the Bundesliga table with only four points, and they’ve conceded 36 goals in the 13 league matches played this season.

Kabak has played in eight of those matches this term, missing the other games as he was suspended for spitting at an opponent.

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