Brendan Rodgers made wise decisions in the summer transfer window, but he is certainly not done building his squad at Liverpool, and Torino center-back Angelo Ogbonna would be a perfect target in January.
The 24-year-old Italian international confirmed that the Reds have shown interest, saying, “It is flattering to be linked with Liverpool football club, one of the biggest clubs in the world. It's very famous,” via Giscard Gourizro of Sky Sports.
Ogbonna has all the necessary skills Rodgers could want in a center-half. At 6’2”, he has excellent size and strength, in addition to being a savvy and disciplined defender. Whoscored.com’s statistics show that his 3.6 interceptions per match rank seventh in Serie A this year.
But he also has the skill and patience to play in Rodgers’ possession-based tactical system. Ogbonna has completed 94.3 percent of his passes this season, which is the third-best mark in Italy’s top flight, also according to Whoscored.com.
Ogbonna and the other defenders have been closing down attackers quickly, allowing the second-fewest shots per game of any team in Serie A, per Whoscored.com.
Torino had spent three seasons in Serie B, but Ogbonna has proved resoundingly thus far that he is a mature and capable top-flight defender. His skills were noticed by Cesare Prandelli, who selected him for the Euro 2012 squad, although he never saw the pitch.
There is no doubt that he is talented, and if he were to move to Anfield, the Reds would have both depth and quality at the heart of their back line.
Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel have formed an effective center-back pair, but having capable replacements at this position is vital for a club that expects to succeed both in England and Europe.
Twenty-two-year-old Sebastian Coates and 34-year-old Jamie Carragher are Rodgers’ other options for center-halves. Coates is young and inexperienced, while Carragher’s career is on the decline.
Ogbonna would be a significantly more reliable option than either of these players, and he has the potential to flourish during his time on the pitch, eventually becoming a regular presence in the starting 11.
Rodgers should continue to monitor Ogbonna’s form, and come January, the Liverpool boss should aggressively pursue his signature.