Liverpool scramble to boost defensive options on transfer deadline day


London (AFP) – Liverpool closed in on defensive reinforcements on Monday as the clock ticked down to the end of a quiet Premier League transfer window in which clubs have been hamstrung by the coronavirus crisis and new Brexit rules.

The January window, which closes at 2300 GMT, is typically regarded as a seller’s market and often a time for stopgap measures but Liverpool have been forced to act.

The champions are missing all of their senior central defenders, with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip out of action. 

First-choice back-up Fabinho recently joined the injured list while captain Jordan Henderson, who usually plays in midfield, has been forced to deputise at the back.

It is understood that Liverpool are close to agreeing a surprise deal for 25-year-old centre-back Ben Davies, who plays for Championship side Preston.

The champions were also reportedly interested in bringing in Marseille’s Duje Caleta-Car but are believed to have switched their attention to a loan deal for Schalke’s Ozan Kabak.

Klopp, whose side are third in the Premier League table, admitted on Friday that no club would be prepared to sell him an “£80 million ($110 million) centre-back” in the final days of the transfer window.

“This calibre of player the teams would not sell them now,” he said. “We need to find the right player and one which suits our financial situation, that’s clear as well.”

– Alli to PSG? –

Uncertainty lingers over the future of Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli, who has been linked with a loan move to Paris Saint-Germain, now managed his former boss Mauricio Pochettino.

The England midfielder has been out of favour at Tottenham under Jose Mourinho, barely featuring in the Premier League this season.

Mourinho said last week he was not expecting Alli to depart but admitted “sometimes unexpected things can happen”.

Major moves involving “Big Six” Premier League clubs appear unlikely on Monday.

Top-flight clubs, who splashed the cash in the summer transfer window, are reeling from the financial fallout as a result of the Covid-19 crisis and are coming to terms with new Brexit rules that make it tougher to recruit young players from Europe.

Among the few eye-catching deals that have taken place over the past month, Manchester United completed the transfer of teenage Ivorian winger Amad Diallo from Serie A side Atalanta for a fee that could rise to £37 million.

United midfielder Jesse Lingard has joined West Ham on loan after slipping down the pecking order at Old Trafford.

Real Madrid midfielder Martin Odegaard has arrived at Arsenal, also on a loan deal, while Mesut Ozil made a much-anticipated exit from the club, joining Turkish giants Fenerbahce.

Aston Villa last week signed French midfielder Morgan Sanson from Marseille in a deal worth a reported £15.5 million.

On Monday, relegation-threatened West Brom announced they had completed the signing of Turkey international midfielder Okay Yokuslu on loan from Spanish side Celta Vigo.

The 26-year-old joins the Baggies on a deal until the end of the 2020/21 campaign.

West Brom have also agreed a deal with Arsenal to take the versatile Ainsley Maitland-Niles on loan until the end of this term.

Maitland-Niles had made 21 appearances for Arsenal this season.

Ecuador international Moises Caicedo has joined Brighton from Independiente del Valle for a fee of around £4 million, with striker Glenn Murray leaving the south coast club for Nottingham Forest.

Tim Bridge of Deloitte’s Sports Business Group told the Press Association news agency that clubs were being cautious because of their straitened circumstances.

“I think this month more than ever feels as if clubs are taking a bit of a watching brief and are not currently willing to spend in the way they previously have done,” he said.

“That’s a reflection of the fact that all clubs have suffered a huge revenue loss. Everybody’s aware of that and I think clubs are slowly trying to understand what that means for their business models.

Newcastle right-back DeAndre Yedlin joined Turkish side Galatasaray in a permanent deal.

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