Liverpool will not activate the option to sign Ozan Kabak permanently this summer, according to reports.
Kabak, 21, was recruited on loan from Schalke in January to fill the void at centre-back, with Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and Virgil Van Dijk all having suffered long-term injuries in the first half of the season. He has made 13 appearances for the club, nine of which have come in the Premier League.
His debut in that competition, against Leicester City, was one he will want to forget. A calamitous mix-up with goalkeeper Alisson Becker handed Jamie Vardy Leicester’s second of the game, which the Foxes went on to win 3-1.
Since then, Kabak has struggled, winning only one of his first five Premier League games before Liverpool crashed out of the Champions League at the hands of Real Madrid.
As a result, Liverpool are set to reject the option to make the Turkish international’s loan permanent, which would require at least £18million, according to The Sun.
Instead, they will focus on securing the services of Ibrahima Konate, the highly-rated RB Leipzig defender.
Reports in March suggested Liverpool’s negotiations with the German club were at an advanced stage, but they are yet to get the deal over the line. The Frenchman has a release clause of £34million.
Van Dijk, meanwhile, expects to join up with his teammates for pre-season training this summer, having missed the vast majority of the 2020/21 campaign through a knee injury sustained in October. A swift recovery will lessen the need for reinforcements at centre-back.
Speaking to the club website earlier this week, Van Dijk revealed he won’t be featuring for the Netherlands at this summer’s European Championships, instead focusing on his return for Liverpool.
“Things have been going well, I’ve not had a real setback or anything, I’ve just progressed nicely,” he said.
“In this latest stage for myself, I have come to a decision that I had to make: would I be involved in the Euros, yes or no?
“With everything that is going on, I feel physically it is the right decision that I’ve decided not to go to the Euros and to go into my last phase of rehab during the off-season.
“So, the full focus will be on pre-season with the club and that’s a realistic goal, so I am looking forward to that.”