Liverpool are reportedly interested in Napoli defender Nikola Maksimovic as Jurgen Klopp looks to bolster his defensive options in the ongoing transfer window.
According to Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol (h/t Metro), Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has informed presenter Jim White that Premier League champions Liverpool are exploring the possibility of signing Nikola Maksimovic in the winter transfer window.
Liverpool have been plagued with injuries to key defenders this season with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez likely to miss the rest of the campaign. Joel Matip, too, continues to be bothered by intermittent injury issues. This has forced Jurgen Klopp to use Fabinho in a makeshift role at the back alongside youngsters Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips.
Fabinho has been exceptional in his role and the two youngsters have also done fairly well, but have shown their inexperience in big moments, which could hurt Liverpool’s bid to retain their Premier League title and go the distance in the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League.
So, bringing in a more accomplished and experienced centre-back in the ongoing transfer window becomes imperative for the Merseyside giants. To that end, they have been linked with a host of central defenders, with their interest in Napoli stalwart Kalidou Koulibaly also reemerging.
However, Liverpool have been told that the Senegalese international will cost them £100 million, which has led them to consider the possibility of making a swoop for his Napoli teammate Nikola Maksimovic, who could come at a much cheaper price.
The 29-year-old Serbian international has been with Napoli since the summer of 2017 when he made the switch from fellow Serie A outfit Torino. After a short loan stint at Spartak Moscow, Maksimovic has grown into a handy squad player for the Partenopei, racking up 85 appearances in which he has two goals and assists each.
Maksimovic has been in and out of the starting XI for Napoli in Serie A this term, although he has featured from the kick-off in four of their last five league outings, while he was an ever-present for Gennaro Gattuso’s side in the UEFA Europa League group stages. The Serb has made 13 appearances in all competitions thus far in 2020/21.
With the 29-year-old’s contract set to expire at the end of the season, he could be available at a knockdown price this month. That coupled with his experience in Serie A and on the international stages with Serbia, makes him a viable option for Liverpool as they look to bolster their defensive ranks.
However, the report does state that the Reds are yet to follow up on their interest in Maksimovic. Instead, they are working on a deal to sign Schalke youngster Ozan Kabak and have contacted his representatives to explore the possibility of a January transfer.
With under three weeks remaining for the January transfer window to close, it will be interesting to see whether Liverpool act on their reported interest in Maksimovic or turn their focus elsewhere.