Liverpool complete loan deal for Schalke defender Ozan Kabak

Ozan Kabak, Schalke, Liverpool badgeGetty

Liverpool have completed the deadline-day signing of Ozan Kabak from Schalke, subject to international clearance.

The 20-year-old defender will move to Anfield on loan until the end of the season, with the Reds having the option to make the move permanent in the summer for a fee of £18 million ($25m).

Kabak, a Turkey international who moved to Schalke from Stuttgart in 2019, will be the first of two signings on a busy day on Merseyside. He will be joined by Preston centre-back Ben Davies, who finalised his switch earlier on Monday.

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Goal understands that Liverpool will pay an initial loan fee of around £1m ($1.4m) for Kabak, while the deal for Davies could be worth in excess of £1.6m, should all performance-related add-ons be triggered.

The Reds had been insistent that it would be a quiet window, but they were forced to alter their stance as the club’s injury crisis at centre-back worsened significantly during January.

As things stand, all four of Jurgen Klopp’s senior options are sidelined. Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are likely to miss the rest of the season, while there are fears that Joel Matip’s ankle ligament injury, suffered in the 3-1 win over Tottenham last week, could keep him out for a significant time too.

Fabinho, who has performed superbly since moving back from midfield, is also nursing a muscle problem that has kept him out of the last two matches. The Brazilian will miss Wednesday’s home game with Brighton but could be fit to return for Sunday’s blockbuster clash with Manchester City.

Liverpool considered a number of options once it became clear that they would have to dip into the market. They were offered the chance to sign Croatian international Duje Caleta-Car from Marseille, but that deal was dependant on the French club sourcing a replacement for the 24-year-old before the Ligue 1 deadline.

That meant that Kabak became their primary target. A medical was completed in Germany on Monday morning, with Schalke pressing on with a deal to sign Shkodran Mustafi from Arsenal as a replacement.

Born in Ankara, Kabak emerged through the ranks at Turkish giants Galatasaray before moving to Stuttgart in January 2019.

Five months later he was on the move again, joining Schalke in a deal worth €15m following Stuttgart’s relegation. He has since made 36 appearances, emerging as one of the few bright spots of a dismal 2020 for the Gelsenkirchen outfit, who sit rock bottom of the Bundesliga at present.

His career in Germany has not been without controversy. In September he was banned for five games and hit with a €15,000 Euro fine after being caught spitting at Werder Bremen’s Ludwig Augustinsson.

Kabak apologised to Augustinsson via Twitter afterwards, insisting the incident, for which he was shown a red card, was an accident.

Meanwhile, Liverpool have also completed the signing of goalkeeper Liam Hughes. The 19-year-old, a Northern Ireland U21 international, will be part of the club's U23 squad.

A deal to sign highly-rated forward Kaide Gordon from Derby is also expected to be finalised, with the 16-year-old joining the Reds' academy setup. 

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