Liverpool are reportedly keeping tabs on former Newcastle United defender Chancel Mbemba who has been impressing with Portuguese giants FC Porto.
According to Tutto Mercato Web, reigning Premier League champions Liverpool have shown an interest in FC Porto’s Congolese defender Chancel Mbemba as the Reds eye defensive reinforcements in the summer.
Mbemba, 26, made the switch to Europe from Congo back in 2011, when he joined Belgian giants RSC Anderlecht. Having been impressed by the potential that the centre-back had shown in the nascent stages of his career, Newcastle United signed him up in 2015.
However, Mbemba was not quite able to carve out a regular place for himself at St. James’ Park and after three years and 59 appearances, left the Magpies for FC Porto in 2018. Since arriving in Portugal, the 26-year-old has been able to get his career back on track, forging a solid defensive partnership alongside veteran star Pepe.
Mbemba, so far, has featured 81 times for the Dragoes bagging seven goals and an assist in the process. The 26-year-old was part of the side that ousted Juventus from the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 stages earlier this month and has missed just two games in the Portuguese league this term.
Mbemba’s growth in Portugal, coupled with the status of his contract, which expires in the summer of 2022, has put him on the radars of a number of clubs, including Premier League giants Liverpool.
The Reds’ defensive plight this season is no secret. While Jurgen Klopp has not been helped by the string of injuries, the lack of quality beyond the first-choice pairing of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez has been exposed. Fabinho did exceedingly well as a makeshift centre-half, but Liverpool need him more in the centre of the park, as was seen in the recent win against RB Leipzig.
January recruit Ozan Kabak is only on loan and has not made that good an impression while Ben Davies is yet to get a look-in under Klopp, indicating the need for a new centre-back in the summer transfer window. This has seen Liverpool get linked with a host of names ranging from Raphael Varane to Boubacar Kamara.
And, now, it is being claimed that Mbemba is also on Liverpool’s radar with the club enquiring for information about the 55-time capped Congolese international. However, they could be set to face competition for the 26-year-old from Serie A side Napoli, who are looking at him as a replacement for Kalidou Koulibaly – another player linked with Liverpool.
The report further adds that Mbemba could be available for as little as €15 million in the summer as he enters the final year of his contract with FC Porto. It now remains to be seen if Liverpool do act on their reported interest in the former Newcastle United defender or pursue alternate targets in the summer window.