Liverpool should target Kalidou Koulibaly instead of Dayot Upamecano, according to Premier League commentator Ian Darke. Liverpool are in the market for new defenders following the serious knee injuries suffered by Virgil van Dijk and, more recently, Joe Gomez. Both Van Dijk and Gomez could be out for the remainder of the season.
Liverpool have been linked with a host of players since the news of Gomez’s injury in England training on Wednesday.
RB Leipzig star Upamecano has attracted interest from the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United following his performances for the Bundesliga side.
But Darke says the 22-year-old still has plenty of learning to do and reckons Napoli’s Koulibaly would be a better option.
Koulibaly, 29, was linked with Manchester City in the summer but a deal failed to materialise.
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“Well I’ve seen Upamecano a fair bit now and he’s an athlete and he’s powerful and he can bring the ball out of defence,” Darke told ESPN FC.
“But at the moment I think he’s still got [a mistake in him] and we saw that when Leipzig shipped five goals against Manchester United in the second half.
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“There was another mistake from him in the Champions League, can’t remember who against the other night as well.
“He’s a very good player and he’s going to get a lot better by the time he’s, say, 26.
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“But at the moment I still think he’s got a mistake in him. I think Koulibaly would be a better bet.
“Everybody out there in Europe knows that Liverpool need a central defender, so the price is going to go through the roof.”
Liverpool legend Steve Nicol disagrees with Darke and believes Upamecano is just the type of defender his former side needs.
“I think right now Liverpool absolutely, because of this injury, have to go out and spend a lot of money,” Nicol said.
“Joe Gomez, at 23 years of age, has already had two major surgeries. That means the chances of it happening again rise.
“You’re talking about percentages of Liverpool defending [the title], you talk about percentages of a player having another bad injury.
“So I think this forces them into it and they should go and get Upamecano.”
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