As doubts grow over Dejan Lovren’s future, it’s time to check out three young centre-backs who could replace the Liverpool defender.
Not only have Liverpool won the Premier League this season, but they also boast the best defensive record of 29 goals conceded. Nearest challengers Manchester City and United follow six goals behind.
A centre-back could be necessary for the Reds this summer, though, as doubts persist over Lovren’s future.
The Croatian has struggled to win favour with Jurgen Klopp following a series of injury setbacks in the last two seasons. Hence, he’s fallen behind Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez in the pecking order. And with Joel Matip also competing, he may have to consider a summer exit.
Considering the strength of his current backline, however, Klopp may prefer to sign a young successor to his current stars instead of another veteran like Lovren.
So let’s check out three young centre-backs who are reportedly on Liverpool’s radar.
Ben White – Leeds United
The 22-year-old has been a revelation for Leeds on loan from Brighton this season. He’s played every minute of the club’s Championship games, helping them end a 16-year wait for promotion back to the Premier League.
A league-best of only 34 goals have been conceded with Ben White in the defence as well. In fact, few English players’ reputations have grown so dramatically in the space of 12 months.
From being an unknown to a proven performer, White will be in high demand in the near future. Although Brighton may opt to retain him for next season rather than sell or do another loan deal.
Evan N’Dicka – Eintracht Frankfurt
Another name that reports have linked with Liverpool over the last few months is N’Dicka.
The 20-year-old has developed well at Eintracht Frankfurt, having already made 69 appearances in all competitions. Therefore, Klopp is allegedly keeping tabs on him. Whether he’ll spend big on N’Dicka is another matter, as the defender’s contract still has until 2023.
Of course, it’s not been N’Dicka’s best season either. The Paris-native spent a large part of the campaign covering in the left-back position for the injury-troubled Eintracht instead of his preferred centre-back role.
Nevertheless, N’Dicka would make a valuable addition for Liverpool. Not only does he possess a lot of experience for his age, but he’s also versatile and composed on the ball.
Nordi Mukiele – RB Leipzig
Mukiele, who has represented France at U18 and U21 level, has developed well at RB Leipzig in the last two years. He’s a strong reader in the game, who’s also chipped in three goals and three assists this season.
French outlet Le 10 Sport has claimed Klopp has named Mukiele as a potential transfer target. Should this one happen, he’ll become the second Leipzig player this year to join Liverpool after Takumi Minamino.
Although Liverpool’s reluctance to splash too much cash this summer may cause Klopp to re-think his plans on this one. Plus, Mukiele mainly plays as a right-back – so he probably won’t be a direct Lovren replacement.
He has played as a centre-back regularly in the past, though.