Liverpool’s centre-back injury crisis is set to leave them competing for one of Manchester United’s top transfer targets and could bring forward their plans to January.
Serious injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomes and the summer departure of Dejan Lovren have left Joel Matip as the only recognised centre-back likely to be available for much of this season at Anfield.
And according to The Athletic, the Merseysiders now have RB Leipzig’s exciting talent Dayot Upamecano in their sights, a player long believed to be at the top of United’s defensive reinforcements wish list.
‘Liverpool had planned to enter the market again next summer, with RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano at the top of their wanted list. The 22-year-old’s contract means he is available for around £40million at the end of the season,’ the outlet claims.
If the Frenchman cannot be prised away from Leipzig midseason, The Athletic believes that Liverpool could then turn to another centre-back linked with United, Brighton’s Ben White.
In that sense, Liverpool’s crisis could be to United’s advantage. If they feel they have to act in January and can’t get Upamecano or White, they would be forced to invest elsewhere, leaving the path to both stars clearer for United to pursue at the end of the season.
On the other hand, it is possible that Leipzig in particular would be persuaded to let Upamecano leave in January if they were to receive an offer in excess of the £40 million fixed fee that they would have to sell for in June.
If Liverpool do make such an offer in the winter window, United and other clubs such as Real Madrid, who are also reported to be interested in the player, and Manchester City, who are linked despite already having bought Ruben Dias and Nathan Aké in the summer, would have to join the race ahead of schedule or allow Upamecano to be snatched unopposed by one of their main rivals.
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