LIVERPOOL have joined the transfer hunt for highly-rated young defender Ozan Kabak, according to reports.
The recently crowned Premier League champions are already turning their attention to strengthening for next season.
Central defence is an area Jurgen Klopp has been keen to bolster.
And that need appears to have become more pressing with Dejan Lovren on the verge of leaving the club.
The Croatian is reportedly close to sealing a £10.9million deal to Zenit St Petersberg.
It seems if Lovren goes, Kabak could be the man to replace him.
Bild report that Klopp has set his sights on the 20-year-old centre-back with talks already beginning.
With his contract running until 2024, current club Schalke are in a commanding position over the fee.
It’s reported that they will want at least £32m for the Turkey international.
Arsenal, Manchester United, Man City, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund have also been linked with Kabak’s signature.
But a deal swinging in Liverpool’s favour will be helped by the fact David Wagner – a close friend of Klopp’s – is the manager of Schalke.
The pair played together at Schalke and former Huddersfield boss Wagner worked under the Liverpool chief at Borussia Dortmund.
VAN DIJK HIS IDOL
On top of that, Kabak’s idol is Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk.
Earlier this season, he said: “My personal aim is to become a top defender in maybe two or three years, like Virgil van Dijk. He’s my idol, I really like him.
“I like his style and how he plays, so I can say he’s my football idol.”
Should Liverpool secure a deal for Kabak, they’ll be signing a fast, tough defender who is comfortable playing out from the back.
He played 26 games of the Bundesliga season just gone and showed verstalility by playing on both the left and right side of centre-back.
He also chipped in with three goals.
A £32m deal would represent good business for Schalke who only signed Kabak from Stuttgart last year for around £14m.