Elite full-backs are in short supply, with many major clubs keen on bolstering this position this summer.
Liverpool are no different, with Jurgen Klopp reportedly keen on recruiting a talented, reliable left-back this summer as an upgrade on James Milner and Alberto Moreno.
Napoli 's Faouzi Ghoulam is one player who has been heavily linked with a move to Anfield. It's not the first time he's been tipped for a move to the Premier League, but on this occasion, you get the feeling that the stars are aligning for the Algeria international.
The story of last season
Napoli finished a fine second during the 2015-2016 season, and last term was supposed to see even further progression.
However, Maurizio Sarri's side arguably failed to kick on has hoped, and they finished third, but did top Group B in the Champions League before falling to eventual winners Real Madrid in the round of 16.
While a lot of attention was placed on the team's attack, it’s impossible to write off the strong defence that played their part during the campaign.
The Partenopei backline conceded just 39 goals last term, the third least in Serie A, and Ghoulam was one of several star men. The 26-year old Algerian made 38 apperances in all competitions, 26 of them in Serie A, of which just three were off the bench.
Ghoulam averaged 1.1 tackles per game, averaged 1.2 interceptions and 1.7 clearances per match.
On the offensive side, he contributed nine assists overall. His passing was also neat with his success rate standing at 86.8%
With these kind of figures, it's little surprise that eminent suitors would come calling for Ghoulam’s services.
What could happen this window?
Liverpool have been linked with Ghoulam for much of the summer and it’s not hard to see why.
The left-back spot has been one of the weakest areas in the Reds squad with James Milner – naturally a midfielder – playing as a full-back for virtually all of last season. Liverpool’s only natural left back in Alberto Moreno has failed to nail his place in Jurgen Klopp’s squad and is expected to quit Anfield this summer.
Ghoulam could be the man that brings some needed stability to a leaky Liverpool defence that struggled to keep clean sheets last season, often conceding careless goals.
With the potential price of Ghoulam set at less than £30 million, the 35-time capped Algerian could be one of the bargains of what has been an overpriced transfer window.
However, Liverpool have also been linked to Andrew Robertson of Hull City, while AC Milan, another potential destination for Ghoulam, have moved for Ricardo Rodriguez.
What to expect next season
Ghoulam has become a critical player for Napoli, and if they want to attempt to overhaul Juventus' dominance, they'd do well to pull out the stops to keep the Algeria international at the club for as long as they can.
If he does transfer to Liverpool, he'll offer the Reds avaluable offensive outlet down the left and a sturdy defensive talent who would be an upgrade on Milner and Moreno.
Internationally, Ghoulam will try to help the Algeria national team overtake the Super Eagles of Nigeria in Group B of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers and seal one of the five African slots in Russia next year.