5 Possible Centre-Back Signings for Liverpool
Following the sale of Rickie Lambert to Liverpool, Southampton issued a strongly worded statement via their official website warning suitors that they would not entertain the possibility of more of their stars leaving until they have appointed a new manager.
Presumably that stance applies to £15 million-rated Croatian defender Dejan Lovren, who has been the subject of interest from the Reds since the close of the season, according to Jack Wilson of the Daily Star.
Brendan Rodgers is looking to shore up a leaky defence that conceded 50 Premier League goals in 2013/14, harming the club’s title challenge.
With Lovren currently out of reach, where else should Rodgers turn to try to solve his defensive woes?
Here are five centre-backs he could target.
Kyriakos Papadopoulos (Schalke)
Liverpool took a serious look at the powerful Kyriakos Papadopoulos last summer, as per Ben Jefferson of the Daily Express, but a knee injury affected the potential move and the Reds eventually signed both Mamadou Sakho and youngster Tiago Ilori instead.
A year on, Papadopoulos now has a shoulder problem, which has kept him out of Greece’s World Cup squad.
After playing just a handful of matches for the Schalke first team in the season just gone—one of which ended in a red card against Bayern Munich—it would be a huge surprise to see Rodgers return for the 22-year-old.
While undoubtedly hugely talented, he has now played just five times for his club since November 2012.
Papadopoulos is still young enough to recover and enjoy a long career, but Liverpool moving for him now would represent a huge gamble.
Inigo Martinez (Real Sociedad)
The rock upon which Real Sociedad’s season was built, 23-year-old defender Inigo Martinez impressed many at the Anoeta in a 2013/14 season which began with him earning his first call-up for the senior Spain side.
According to talkSPORT, the Reds would face competition from the likes of Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid for the highly rated centre-back, who has a €30 million release clause in his contract.
However, with links to the likes of John Aldridge, John Toshack and Xabi Alonso binding the two clubs, the Reds might hope that history will act as a helping hand.
Steven Caulker (Cardiff City)
Plucking a player from a relegated side might not look like the greatest idea for a club who now have aspirations to win the Premier League title, but Rodgers has worked with Steven Caulker before and has demonstrated his ability to improve players throughout his time at Anfield.
There is no doubt that the once-capped Englishman (who scored on his one and only England appearance against Sweden in November 2012) has the raw talent to be a fine defender, and at just 22, he has a long time ahead of him in the game.
Perhaps Caulker isn’t the one standout signing that Reds supporters would like to see. However, after playing under Rodgers on loan at Swansea in 2011/12, he could certainly be seen as a good addition to the Reds’ pool of centre-backs should a deal be done with Cardiff City, as has been suggested by James Nursey of the Daily Mirror.
Bruno Martins Indi (Feyenoord)
Dutch international defender Bruno Martins Indi has been linked with a move to Manchester United after the World Cup by Scott Murray of The Guardian, and if new United boss and current Dutch team manager Louis van Gaal rates him that highly, perhaps Liverpool should be looking at him as well?
The 22-year-old came through the ranks at Feyenoord and played 26 times for them as they came second in the Eredivisie last season. He’s already picked up 15 caps for the Netherlands and is expected to be a vital part of their defence in Brazil in the coming weeks.
United must be considered an attractive option for him, given the presence of Van Gaal. However, if the Reds can muscle in with their offer of Champions League football, he could be persuaded to look elsewhere.
Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid)
Perhaps the most attractive option available to Liverpool at the moment would be 28-year-old Uruguay defender Diego Godin, who might be persuaded to move should the Atletico Madrid side he plays for break up and lose several of their key players.
Godin scored the equalising goal at the Camp Nou, which earned Atletico their first La Liga title in 18 years at the end of this season, and he was seconds away from seeing his first-half header win the Champions League final last month until Real Madrid roared back.
If Liverpool were to make a move for Luis Suarez’s Uruguay teammate—they were linked with doing so by the Daily Telegraph's Rory Smith as far back as the summer of 2011 when Kenny Dalglish was in charge—they would be snapping up one of the best out-and-out defenders in the game today.