As the transfer window looms ever closer, on Friday Liverpool were linked with a move for Turkish international left-back Caner Erkin.
Nick Lustig of the Daily Star was one of the first to report the Reds’ interest "as Brendan Rodgers seeks to reinforce his defensive options."
The left-back position is certainly one that Liverpool need to strengthen after the disappointment of loan signing Aly Cissokho, and the current injury lay-off of the erratic Jose Enrique.
Only the saving grace of an improved Jon Flanagan has prevented Liverpool from being caught short in the left-back position recently.
Nevertheless, Erkin isn’t the first, nor will he be the last, left-back to be linked with a move to Merseyside this winter.
Erkin, who infamously wears the number 88 for Fenerbahce, is a very attack-minded left-back, having regularly played in left midfield earlier in his career.
This will fit Brendan Rodgers’ system very well, with Erkin mirroring Glen Johnson’s runs down the right flank, on the left side.
The 25-year-old comes with a good amount of experience behind him, having been on the books at Manisaspor and CSKA Moscow before his move to Fenerbahce in 2010.
He also enjoyed a loan spell at Galatasary in the 2009/10 season, where he was played in a more advanced role by coach Frank Rijkaard.
Caner Erkin? interesting career: got picked up by CKSA Moskva, then loaned back to Galatasaray (struggled) and was sold to Fenerbahce in '10— Oliver Pfister (@_rickblaine) December 5, 2013
Now a regular Turkey international, Erkin has won 23 caps for his country since making his debut aged just 17 in a friendly against Ghana in 2006.
Caner Erkin can't be stopped. He asisted again in Turkey - Belarus game RESPECT pic.twitter.com/VLfUlqX5GV— Fenerbahce Stuff (@FBahceStuff) November 19, 2013
Erkin has made an impressive start to the season with Fenerbahce. WhoScored.com say the full-back has managed to score once in 12 appearances, and Erkin has also made nine assists so far this campaign, according to Lustig in the Daily Star.
Erkin has a lot of fans in Turkey, but his contract at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium expires next summer, which could prompt the likes of Liverpool to move in during the January transfer window in search of a bargain.
His agent, Batur Altiparmak is quoted by Inside Futbol as telling Fanatik:
We know he is being followed abroad.
He is, of course, a priority for Fenerbahce. At the end of the season, the contract ends but we will meet with Fenerbahce.
We know he is followed abroad but there is nothing concrete. Currently, Caner cannot think of anything other than the team's success.
While Erkin has some impressive records to his name, he remains an fairly unknown quality across Europe.
@thisisanfield Overrated to be honest , id rather have Alex Sandro of Porto!— Husam Al-Atoom (@Hus_LFC_Hus) December 6, 2013
@thisisanfield He started and continued his career as a winger. This season, Fenerbahce have 2 LBs but they both underperformed at the start— Emre Kocaaslan (@NihatEmre) December 6, 2013
@thisisanfield Then the manager gave him a role at LB and he suited perfectly. Great crosser, and set-piece taker his dribbling is good, too— Emre Kocaaslan (@NihatEmre) December 6, 2013
Should Liverpool reach out to buy him in January, Erkin may require some time to adjust to the Premier League.
Would you like to see Liverpool sign Caner Erkin?
Liverpool, however, need someone who is proven already and can slot right into Rodgers’ team structure.
The ideal candidate for the Reds would possess experience but remain a long-term solution.
He must certainly be an improvement on Cissokho, at the very least, and quality competition for Enrique upon his return in February.