Liverpool are reportedly set to go head to head with AC Milan in the pursuit of FC Schalke’s defensive talent Malick Thiaw.
According to Sky Sports, Liverpool are set to rival AC Milan in the race to sign Malick Thiaw. The 20-year-old FC Schalke defender has emerged as a late transfer target for the two clubs as they look to shore up their defensive options before the winter transfer window slams to a shut. Both the parties have already initiated contacts surrounding a potential transfer and are expected to begin negotiations in the coming days.
Formerly of the Bayer Leverkusen academy, Thiaw has been making a name for himself in the second division of German football this season. The 20-year-old had even represented Schalke in the Bundesliga last term but could not help the Royal Blues suffer a shock relegation.
However, Thiaw has become a vital part of the club’s bid to return to the top-flight next season. He has featured in all of Schalke’s league matches so far, building a formidable defensive unit alongside Marcin Kaminski and Ko Itakura. Their collective defensive contributions have helped Schalke emerge as one of the favourites to finish in the top three.
The 20-year-old’s impressive performances in the Zweite Bundesliga have not escaped the eyes of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who is closely monitoring the development of the Schalke centre-back.
Liverpool’s interest in Malick Thiaw likely signals a potential departure from the Anfield camp. In recent days, Aston Villa had emerged as a potential suitor for out of favour centre-back Joe Gomez, though the Reds reportedly have no intention to offload the Englishman in January, even on a loan deal.
The most likely candidate to leave the club is Nathaniel Phillips. The former Stuttgart defender is not included in Klopp’s plans amid interest from Watford; the Liverpool boss is eyeing a move for Thiaw, who has shown a lot of potential during his time in the German second division, so far.
Liverpool have done a lot of business with Schalke in recent years. They had notably brought in their Joel Matip back in 2016, and most recently, Ozan Kabak had joined the Reds on a loan deal. Although the Turkish international’s move to Anfield did not work out quite well, Klopp is confident Thiaw can break the chain and even emerge as a long-term successor for the ageing Matip.
However, as mentioned earlier, Liverpool are set to face stiff competition from AC Milan in the pursuit of Thiaw. The Serie A giants are more desperate for a new centre-back in January, having lost both Fikayo Tomori and Simon Kjaer to injury. And after failing to land a majority of their targets so far, it will be interesting to see how they go about their business in the remaining days of the transfer window.