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Liverpool’s likely centre-back pursuit under spotlight on transfer deadline day

Liverpool’s efforts to bring in a centre-back look set to be the main focus of attention on deadline day as a thus-far notably quiet transfer window draws to a close.

Ahead of the window shutting at 11pm on Monday, the Reds have been pondering ways to address what has become an increasingly problematic situation with regard to Jurgen Klopp’s back line.

With Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez already sidelined, fellow central defender Joel Matip and first-choice back-up Fabinho recently joined the injured list.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has seen his defence hit by injuries (Adam Davy/PA).
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has seen his defence hit by injuries (Adam Davy/PA)

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen if Dele Alli makes for a high-profile departure from the Premier League.

The England midfielder has been out of favour at Tottenham under Jose Mourinho.

And Paris St Germain, now managed by Mourinho’s predecessor at Spurs Mauricio Pochettino, have been pushing to sign Alli on loan for the rest of the season.

Mourinho earlier this week said he was not expecting the player to leave, but also admitted “sometimes unexpected things can happen”.

Tottenham's Dele Alli (right) has been out of favour at Tottenham under Jose Mourinho (left) (Alex Livesey/PA).
Tottenham’s Dele Alli (right) has been out of favour at Tottenham under Jose Mourinho (left) (Alex Livesey/PA)

It appears that, aside from Liverpool with their potential recruiting of a defender, any late squad modification among the top flight’s ‘big six’ is likely to be players leaving.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has been unwilling to discuss the future of defender Eric Garcia, who is in the last year of his contract and has been linked with a return to his boyhood club Barcelona.

Amid the battle for survival at the bottom, 19th-placed West Brom made their third signing of the window on Friday with the loan capture of Galatasaray striker Mbaye Diagne.

And boss Sam Allardyce was quoted after Saturday’s 2-2 draw with fellow strugglers Fulham as expressing his desire to add to that further before Monday’s deadline.

While the Baggies have been fairly busy on the recruitment front, it has been a low-key window overall amid the financial climate created by the coronavirus pandemic.

Tim Bridge of Deloitte’s Sports Business Group told the PA news agency: “I think this month more than ever feels as if clubs are taking a bit of a watching brief and are not currently willing to spend in the way they previously have done.

“That’s a reflection of the fact that all clubs have suffered a huge revenue loss, everybody’s aware of that, and I think clubs are slowly trying to understand what that means for their business models.

“So I think naturally there’s probably an element of consideration, of taking the time to understand exactly where the market’s at, and I would imagine people making the decisions at clubs at the minute are probably struggling to understand what represents true value.

“If you’re buying a player, you can’t be certain to say that you’re ever going to make a profit on that player, and you certainly can’t say whether that player now represents good value.”

Among the eye-catching deals that have taken place this month are Manchester United and England’s Jesse Lingard joining West Ham on loan, Real Madrid midfielder Martin Odegaard arriving at Arsenal on loan, and Aston Villa signing Morgan Sanson from Marseille.

Mesut Ozil made a much-talked-about exit from the Gunners as he joined Fenerbahce.

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