Klopp could seal "remarkable" Matip successor with late Liverpool move for £30m titan - opinion


Liverpool have left their final business of the summer late, but Jurgen Klopp's side appear to be on the lookout for fresh faces before the deadline tomorrow evening, with a defensive ace earmarked.

The centre has been the priority all summer after six midfielders left the club in different scenarios after the culmination of the 2022/23 campaign - a term that did not bear fruit for the Anfield outfit.

But the Premier League giants require a sprucing up of the backline too, and sporting director Jorg Schmadkte might now be poised to complete the window by signing the desired profile: a left-sided central defender in the shape of Arthur Theate.

Reports from French outlet L'Equipe earlier in August suggested that Ligue 1 side Rennes had slapped a price tag of €35m (£30m) on left-footed centre-half Arthur Theate, who is also attracting attention from Fulham.

The Reds will be emboldened by German club RB Leipzig's failure to sign the Frenchman, with Marco Rose's outfit giving up their pursuit after failing to agree terms for a transfer.

Interestingly, L'Equipe report that Liverpool defender Joel Matip is being tracked by Rennes as a replacement for Theate, and Klopp and Schmadtke could now utilise this link to replenish their backline.

Matip has been a stalwart for Liverpool since joining the club from Schalke on a free transfer in 2016, making 188 appearances and winning the whole gamut of silverware under Klopp's wing.

The 31-year-old Cameroonian has entered the final year of his contract, however, and lost his place in the Liverpool starting line-up during the latter phase of the 2022/23 campaign, coinciding with the English outfit's late-season purple patch to somewhat salvage their season.

As per FBref, the £100k-per-week titan still ranks admirably across a range of metrics, ranking among the top 5% of positional peers across Europe's top five leagues over the past year for goals, the top 6% for shot-creating actions, the top 13% for passes attempted, the top 14% for progressive passes and the top 1% for progressive carries per 90.

In Theate, Klopp would sign a custom-made replacement, with the Belgian defender ranking among the top 9% of centre-backs for goals, the top 10% for passes attempted, the top 2% for progressive passes and the top 15% for progressive carries per 90. Clearly, there is an underlying similarity when it comes to their ability in possession.

The 23-year-old has been hailed for his "remarkable" skill set by journalist Sacha Tavolieri, and if Liverpool are to sign him, it could prove to be a move that works out for all parties, with Rennes landing a distinguished defender in Matip for an affordable fee and Liverpool sealing an ace to cement a starting berth on Merseyside for years to come.

Having polished up the midfield with a wealth of exciting acquisitions this summer, Klopp and co could now ice the cake by signing Theate on summer deadline day, who could make a marked improvement of the defensive third and perhaps prove the difference-maker in a crucial season where a silver-laden resurgence is coveted seasonal objective.

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