Liverpool have reportedly submitted a formal offer to sign Barcelona outcast Thomas Vermaelen, as Jurgen Klopp’s search for cover at centre-back continues.
Mamadou Sakho’s failed drug test and his decision to not appeal against UEFA’s charges could see him being out of action for at least six months.
Kolo Toure’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season, while Martin Skrtel has been linked with a move away from Merseyside this summer. This would leave Liverpool short at centre-back, should both of them leave the club at the end of the season.
Schalke’s Joel Matip will arrive in the summer, while Joe Gomez is set to return as well from ACL injury for pre-season, but Klopp is still on the lookout for an experienced defender in the market.
Reports in Spain suggest that Liverpool are negotiating a deal for Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi, while the Reds have Barcelona centre-back Vermaelen on their sight as well.
Vermaelen enjoyed a successful spell in England with Arsenal, and captained the side in 2012, replacing Robin van Persie upon his departure to Manchester United. He made 150 appearances for the Gunners and won the FA Cup with Arsene Wenger’s side before moving to Barcelona in 2014.
The Belgian made a £15m move to the Catalan giants, with the Blaugrana looking to fill the void left by the retiring Carles Puyol.
The ball-playing defender hasn’t had much success with Barcelona, with recurrent injuries limiting his first team appearances. He has dropped down the pecking orders behind Javier Mascherano, Gerard Pique and Jeremy Mathiue, but has shown flashes of quality whenever he has been called upon. This season, he has made 20 appearances for the La Liga champions, delivering assured performances whenever required.
Spanish publication Sport claims that Liverpool have submitted a formal offer for Vermaelen, who is also wanted by West Ham and Chelsea. The Reds are ready to stump an offer around £8m for the 30-year-old but Barcelona are waiting to see if they get a better value for the defender before responding.
A left-sided centre-back with loads of Premier League and European experience, he will be a good short term replacement of Sakho if the Frenchman is to miss action up to six months. A move back to Premier League could reignite his career and given the low cost (relatively) of the transfer, Liverpool could do worse than sign the Belgian this summer.