Newcastle United are competing for the signature of former Liverpool loanee Ozan Kabak, according to Bild.
Kabak spent the latter half of the 2020/21 season on loan at Anfield amid a centre-back injury crisis, with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all out injured.
The youngster played 13 games in total, averaging 2.9 successful aerial duels, 2.1 tackles, 1.3 interceptions and three clearances per 90 minutes in the Premier League (via WhoScored).
Though Kabak helped Liverpool pick up the points they needed to secure a top-four finish, they decided not to sign him permanently.
Newcastle have emerged as a possible destination, with centre back considered a ‘key area’ for recruitment. Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer and Fulham’s Tosin Adarabioyo have also been looked at (via The Athletic).
The expectation is that the uncertainty around the future of the Turkish international will soon be resolved by a huge battle for his signature.
As well as Newcastle, Kabak is the subject of interest from Premier League teams Leicester and Crystal Palace and Ligue 1 sides OGC Nice and Rennes.
Kabak is set to choose his preferred destination, and then Schalke will enter into negotiations over a transfer fee.
They’re now hoping to pocket €15million (£12.8million) from the deal, having agreed an £18million option to buy with Liverpool back in January which the Reds deemed too much.
Kabak would be an outstanding signing for Newcastle. After a shaky start, he performed well for Liverpool in hugely difficult circumstances and ought to be regarded as part of the next generation of top centre-backs.
Schalke are said to be ‘financially weak’ after relegation, and Newcastle may well be sensing an opportunity for a mighty bargain.
Leicester may be able to offer Kabak European football and a more exciting project, but crucially, with Wesley Fofana, Caglar Soyuncu and Jonny Evans already on their books, his game-time might be limited.
He’d surely be guaranteed a fair crack at a starting spot at St James’ Park, especially if Steve Bruce opts to play a back five.
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