Who could Liverpool sign as Van Dijk long-term replacement?
An €80 million signing from Southampton in 2018, centre-back Virgil van Dijk has been a transformative participant for Liverpool, serving to the membership to win the Champions League and Premier League titles and ending second behind Lionel Messi within the Ballon d’Or voting in 2019.
However, this season his kind has dipped and, whereas the entire workforce has had its ups and downs, it has been particularly noticeable in such an influential participant. Though it is untimely to counsel that Liverpool must be seeking to substitute the Netherlands worldwide within the first XI, he turns 32 in July and has a contract that expires in two years, which suggests they could herald a youthful centre-back this summer season to spend a season as his understudy.
Liverpool signed Ibrahima Konate for €40m from RB Leipzig in 2021 with an eye fixed on the longer term, however there is no ready-made substitute on the market for Van Dijk. His mixture of tempo, expertise, management, skill on the ball, aerial dominance, charisma and uncompromising defending is nearly unattainable to breed.
So, in having a look at some attainable candidates who could be his long-term successor at Anfield, I’ve thought-about gamers who’ve a number of the identical skillsets and fairly related stats, together with others who nonetheless have issues to work on or would want to adapt to a unique system. Many are usually not simple to sign, given the charges concerned, however even when Liverpool find yourself disenchanted (as they had been with Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham), these gamers could be price pursuing.
*Transfer valuations by way of Transfermarkt.
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Josko Gvardiol, 20, RB Leipzig
Transfer worth: €75m
Finding a younger defender who has the authority of a 30-year-old is difficult, but, regardless of his age, it is easy to think about Gvardiol taking over a management position at a much bigger membership than RB Leipzig. Used to enjoying in a excessive defensive position, the Croatia worldwide has the tempo to make recovering runs and is aware of when to take up superior positions and when to drop again. His diversified passing expertise additionally make him perfect to take cost of the distribution from the again, be it exact passes via the center or selecting out a teammate’s run together with his glorious left foot.
Technically adept and resolute in his defending, Gvardiol is already approaching the profile of an entire centre-back. And, as a end result, there’s more likely to be a major queue of elite European golf equipment — together with Manchester City and Real Madrid — lining as much as sign him when he departs Germany. Unless eighth-placed Liverpool could make a late cost for Europe, they might battle to combat for his signature this summer season.
Having allowed star defender Kalidou Koulibaly to hitch Chelsea for €40m final summer season, Napoli made a switch masterstroke by changing him with Kim for simply €18m from Fenerbahce.
The South Korea worldwide has been certainly one of Serie A’s greatest gamers this season and has been essential to Napoli’s march in the direction of a long-awaited Scudetto in his debut marketing campaign. Playing on the left — regardless of being right-footed — of a central defensive partnership with Amir Rrahmani, Kim has impressed together with his exceptional focus and psychological alertness.
His game-reading skills enable him to avert early hazard by anticipating an opponent’s actions and, as soon as the duel is received (he has come out on high in an astounding 75% this season), he will get the ball ahead shortly to begin off a counter-attack. On high of being a superb passer, Kim can be a aggressive defender within the field and all the time appears to be available to dam efforts or clear aerial challenges (he has a 71% success fee this season, which isn’t far off Van Dijk’s distinctive 76%.)
The Barcelona centre-back suits the invoice for Liverpool in most departments. His assertiveness in challenges and aerial dominance measure up in opposition to the very best Premier League requirements, whereas his agility and tempo mark him out as among the finest younger defenders round.
Though enjoying out from the again is just not his major forte — he tends to go away these duties to his central defensive associate or shift a straightforward move out to the right-back — the Uruguay worldwide has grown in confidence on this side of his sport.
Araujo has the pure aggression and mentality of a defender that implies he genuinely enjoys the bodily aspect of his job, so it is easy to envisage him feeling at residence in English soccer. Luring away among the finest centre-backs Barcelona have fostered for a decade is not any easy process — and he’s contracted for one more three years — however the LaLiga membership’s perilous monetary scenario could current a possibility for Liverpool to make a transfer.
Alessandro Bastoni, 24, Inter Milan
Transfer worth: €55m
Usually performed on the left aspect of a again three — and given extra attacking freedom as a end result — the left-footed Italy worldwide has a barely completely different profile to the opposite candidates on this record. Yet it is not unthinkable that Liverpool may characteristic a again three sooner or later sooner or later and Bastoni could actually regulate to being a part of defensive duo as nicely if required.
While the 24-year-old normally prefers to take up deep positions, his recovering tempo was evident in Antonio Conte’s high-pressing Inter aspect of 2021 and his aerial capabilities are enhancing by the yr. A dedicated tackler (2.8 tackles per 90 minutes) with a superb left foot, Bastoni is greater than able to selecting out gaps in midfield to play a move or hit crossfield switches.
Similar to Barcelona, Inter seem underneath stress to maneuver gamers on this summer season to steadiness the books so it could be the appropriate time to contemplate a proposal for a centre-back whose contract expires in a yr.
The Leverkusen teenager may also be accustomed to enjoying in a again three, however underneath Xabi Alonso’s stewardship he is proven the flexibleness to step in throughout the defensive position — usually on the left aspect — with out it inflicting him any issues.
Despite being naturally right-footed, the Burkino Faso worldwide is snug receiving the ball and transferring it on with both foot. While Tapsoba consists in possession, he typically retains it easy, usually opting to restrict his distribution to low-risk deliveries alongside the bottom (although his lengthy passes are of a excessive customary too.)
His considerably laid-back type could make him appear informal, however his tempo and psychological sharpness make him a decisive defender in one-vs.-one conditions. Sixth-placed Leverkusen have struggled a bit this season however Tapsoba has progressively picked up his efficiency stage after the flip of the yr and will probably be on the radar of loads of golf equipment this summer season.