Liverpool have reportedly set their sights on Juventus star Merih Demiral as Jurgen Klopp grows desperate for defensive reinforcements.
According to the Italian press, as relayed by Milliyet, Liverpool’s search for a new defender has led them to Juventus, with whom they have lodged an opening offer of £45 million to secure the services of Merih Demiral. The Turkish centre-back has been identified as the latest target for Jurgen Klopp, albeit for a move in the summer.
However, Juventus have declined any Liverpool advances for Demiral. The Italian giants want significantly more than what the Reds have offered as they believe Demiral could be a viable option for them in the future. A deal, though, could still be struck in the summer as the Premier League champions agree to meet Juventus’ demands.
Demiral, however, might turn out to be a redundant target for Liverpool come the summer transfer window, when a host of other defenders across Europe will be available. Dayot Upamecano, for one, reportedly has release clause cheaper than Demiral’s valuation, one that can be activated at the end of the season and the Frenchman is set to attract the interest of almost every top club in Europe.
Even Upamecano’s defensive partner at RB Leipzig, in Ibrahima Konate, has been linked with a move to Liverpool. As for Demiral, he could have been an exciting, albeit an expansion, option for the Reds in this ongoing January transfer window.
The Turkish international would have provided an ideal back-up for the injured defensive trifecta of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip. His robust style of play, combined with his qualities on the ball could also combine well with van Dijk in the long-term, making the Juventus star a useful competitor for Gomez, who was having a below-par campaign before getting injured.
As for Juventus themselves, it appears Demiral could be the future of the club in the defensive unit, especially with Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini playing in the final phase of their long careers.
The 22-year-old, alongside big-money signing Matthijs de Ligt, could be the face of the Juventus defence in the near future, so it is hardly surprising to see the Bianconeri putting an expensive price-tag on the Turkish sensation. It will be interesting to see whether Liverpool do come back for the defender, should they fail in their reported summer pursuit of players like Upamecano, Konate and David Alaba.