Liverpool have drawn up a four-man shortlist of players to bolster the centre of their defence this summer.
The Reds look like being in the market for a new centre-back, with Joel Matip potentially on the way out of Anfield. To that end, Football Transfers claim that Jurgen Klopp is evaluating the merits of Josko Gvardiol, Antonio Silva, Goncalo Inacio and Jarrad Branthwaite.
Gvardiol is claimed to be ‘leading’ the list as Liverpool’s preferred target. However, with big money expected to be spent on the midfield this summer, the Reds reportedly don’t hold out much hope of signing him.
As a result, three other names are being assessed as alternatives. Of these, Inacio is perhaps the most interesting. Football Transfers report that his club – Sporting – would be ‘open’ to a move for the 21-year-old this summer.
However, it’s claimed that as of yet there has been no ‘serious level of enquiry’ for the Portugal international.
The same is reportedly true of Silva. But there’s said to be an ‘anticipation’ that the 19-year-old will ultimately end up in the Premier League. Finally, Liverpool reportedly have ‘serious interest’ in Everton’s Branthwaite, too. Due to the Toffees rivalry with the Reds though, it’s claimed that they may prefer a sale elsewhere.
Liverpool lining up Van Dijk successor
Clearly, Gvardiol is top of a lot of team’s lists for defensive upgrades. As a result of his self-confessed allegiance to Liverpool, they’re always going to be suggested as an option.
It has been widely reported that the Croatian will stay at RB Leipzig until summer 2024, though. With Matip potentially on the way out, Liverpool might look to get someone in before that.
Intriguingly, its claimed that the Reds are looking especially towards a left-sided centre-back. As that’s where Virgil van Dijk has played for years, it’s safe to assume that this is as the Dutchman’s successor.
All of Gvardiol, Inacio and Branthwaite are left-footed. Although not necessarily a deal-breaker, this would help to add balance to the defence. And due to Sporting’s position of being open to selling, Inacio may turn out to be the choice.
During last summer, the Portuguese was reportedly a £38m target for Newcastle United. Determined to stay on at his club after their league title win in 2021 though, Inacio reportedly rejected the Magpies.
Should Liverpool come knocking, perhaps that would be a different story. With Ibrahima Konate slated for the long-term slot on the right, Inacio could be a similar candidate on the left. In truth we’d be happy with any of these options. Learning from Virgil for a couple of years before taking over from the big man, they’re big boots to fill. But Liverpool need to start filling them.