Is Stefan Bell Liverpool's Dejan Lovren Transfer Alternative?

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentJuly 23, 2014

Southampton's Dejan Lovren, centre, celebrates after scoring against Liverpool during their English Premier League soccer match at Anfield Stadium, Liverpool, England, Saturday Sept. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman claimed Liverpool transfer target Dejan Lovren would "continue to play at Southampton," per Sky Sports.

Therefore, a suggested alternative to Lovren is Mainz centre-back Stefan Bell.

Here is a scouting report on Bell, a 22-year-old, 6'4", 190-pound German. 

 

Bell Positives

 Dejan LovrenStefan Bell
Tackles Per Game2.01.7
Fouls Per Game0.80.7
Tackles Per Foul2.32.4
Interceptions Per Game2.72.0
Possessions Won Back Per Game4.73.7

Lovren's primary defensive statistics are better than Bell's.

But Bell has a higher upside than Lovren, being taller, bigger and younger. 

 Dejan LovrenStefan Bell
Height6'2"6'4"
Weight185 lbs190 lbs
Age2522

Four years ago, Bell was announced as the second-best player of his age group, per Clark Whitney at Goal.com.

Mario Gotze, who was the pre-eminent wunderkind in the age group below Bell, scored the winning goal for Germany in the FIFA World Cup final. 

The two other finalists in Bell's category, Peniel Mlapa and Shervin Radjabali-Fardi, have since suffered career lulls. 

Instead of fading into obscurity, Bell displayed glimpses last season of turning into a top defender. 

As a centre-back, Bell is a conservative tackler who stays compact. 

Displaying excellent recovery speed, Bell raced back into position to clear then-Nurnberg (now Stuttgart) centre-forward Daniel Ginczek's goal-bound shot.  

Credit: Bundesliga.com

Bell was protecting the goal line again when Schalke right attacking midfielder Jefferson Farfan took a shot. 

Credit: Bundesliga.com

Aerial prowess is an area at which Bell excels, and he can help fortify Liverpool's defence. 

 Headers Won Headers ContestedHeaders Per GameHeaders Won %
Daniel Agger45692.365.2
Dejan Lovren1011653.361.2
Kolo Toure43852.250.6
Mamadou Sakho47842.660.0
Martin Skrtel1291843.670.1
Stefan Bell1271914.766.5

The unassailable advantage Bell has over Lovren is being able to slot in at right-back and offer incisive play going forward. 

Credit: Kicker.de

Creating space on the right flank, Bell delivered a precise low cross to Mainz centre-forward Shinji Okazaki. 

Credit: Bundesliga.com

Bell whipped the ball to then-Mainz (now Schalke) centre-forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, who scored a backheel goal against Bayer Leverkusen.

Credit: Bundesliga.com

Strolling down the right wing against Hoffenheim, Bell sent in an incisive cross to create another goal for Choupo-Moting.

Credit: Bundesliga.com

 

Bell Negatives

If Liverpool management wanted to target a German centre-back with the biggest potential, Bell would not be considered. 

Hamburg's Jonathan Tah, 18, and Hoffenheim's Niklas Sule, 18, are possible world-class centre-backs down the line. 

There are blemishes in Bell's defending which is reflected in how the German footballing media rated him.

  • Bild rated Bell as the eighth-best player on his own team. 
  • There were 23 defenders placed higher than Bell on Kicker's defenders-only ranking. 

Credit: Bild.de

Credit: Kicker.de

Bell inexplicably raked Wolfsburg centre-forward Bas Dost from behind to concede a needless penalty. 

Credit: Bundesliga.com

Franck Ribery profited when Bell inadvertently headed the ball toward the Bayern Munich left-winger. 

Not only was it a lapse in concentration from Bell, but he did not communicate with Mainz goalkeeper Loris Karius.  

Credit: Bundesliga.com

When isolated in a one-on-one situation out wide against Werder Bremen centre-forward Eljero Elia, Bell was exposed. 

Credit: Bundesliga.com

 

Bottom Line

Liverpool are desperate to sign Lovren, who was elite for Southampton last season, which could equate to another inflated transfer. 

Sold PlayerClub Fee 
Luke ShawManchester United €37.9/£30M
Adam LallanaLiverpool €31.6/£25M

"Liverpool are closing in on the £20 million signing of Dejan Lovren from Southampton," per Neil Jones at the Liverpool Echo. "Liverpool's persistence, coupled with the player's desire to move to Merseyside, means the deal is now likely to go through this week."

However, Koeman denied reports of Lovren leaving imminently. 

"We have had no bid from Liverpool for Lovren," Koeman said, per Sky Sports. "If that does not change, he will continue to play at Southampton."

If Lovren's proposed transfer collapses, then Liverpool should consider turning to Bell, a cheaper and younger alternative. 

 

@allanjianga

Statistics via WhoScored.com