Liverpool chief Michael Edwards has major Dayot Upamecano transfer problem to contend with
There are exactly seventh weeks to go until the January transfer window but Liverpool are already showing signs of life in the winter market. Jurgen Klopp is hoping to find the answer to Liverpool’s prayers after losing first-choice centre-back pairing Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez to long-term knee injuries.
He now has just one fit senior centre-back available at his disposal in the form of Joel Matip, who has had plenty of fitness concerns of his own.
As is stands, all signs point towards Michael Edwards digging his hands deep into his pockets to bring in defensive reinforcements.
If Liverpool want to retain the Premier League title and continue fighting on all other fronts, they simply have no other option.
The obvious candidate for the role is RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano and for that reason, rumours are already starting to swirl.
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Similarly to Thiago Alcantara, it’s a link that will be dismissed by Jurgen Klopp but there appears to be some substance.
The German is a big admirer of Upamecano, who has made a monumental impact at Leipzig since arriving from sister club RB Salzburg in 2017.
He has all the attributes required for a modern defender and suits Liverpool’s style down to the ground.
Upamecano reads the game exceptionally well and is comfortable on the ball, often bringing it forward up the field.
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Not only that but like Van Dijk and Gomez, he also has the speed to recover and prevent counter-attacks.
His name was up in lights earlier this summer at the Champions League mini-tournament in Portugal, after turning in man of the match display against Atletico Madrid.
Yet should Liverpool decide to make their move, they will have to navigate a significant problem during negotiations with RB Leipzig.
Back in August, Upamecano put to paper on new a new deal with Leipzig until 2023.
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It was a development of major significance to interested parties – including Manchester United, Arsenal and Bayern Munich – given that it contains a new release clause.
From next summer, Upamecano can leave Leipzig if any club matches the figure which is believed to be in the region of just under £40million.
The Athletic claim that Liverpool were plotting a potential swoop when the clause comes into play but now they will have to twist Leipzig’s arm.
The Bundesliga club hold all the power and given they know Liverpool are desperate, could hold out for way over that price-tag.
Liverpool need a centre-back now and will want to sign somebody with a long-term future at Anfield, not just a stopgap.
For that reason, the Reds may end up backing themselves into a corner with Leipzig unlikely to be keen on selling one of their players halfway through a campaign.
With that said, Edwards is the chief negotiator when it comes to transfers as shown when he managed to wrangle the signing of Thiago for just £27.3m earlier this summer.
Upamecano is likely to have a say on the matter too and should he push for a move, Leipzig may give in.
While the 22-year-old has been earmarked as the club’s top defensive target, the operation behind bringing him to Merseyside in January appears a complicated one.
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