Could Liverpool be ready to make a move for FC Augsburg defender Ragnar Klavan? It’s widely reported that the club have made a £4.2m offer for the Estonian captain, and it seems like a deal could happen in the next few days.
Let’s check out the possibility of a move in-depth.
With so many big money deals hitting the headlines over the last few weeks, is there space for Klavan amongst the expensive stars that line up in Liverpool’s defence?
With an index rating of 4.9 (out of 5) everything is pointing towards a move, and there doesn’t seem to be much holding him back. It’s true that a move for the left footed defender has come out of the blue, and it’s unclear if he’d be able to secure a place in the side in the long-term.
Jurgen Klopp got the chance to take a close look at the player last season, as he played in both legs when Liverpool saw off Augsburg in the Europa League. He must have liked what he saw, although some experts aren’t convinced that he has enough about him to improve their current squad.
The Liverpool Echo spoke to Bundesliga expert Archie Rhind-Tutt about the move, who said that the player was “probably not somebody I would say would go in and be first choice at Liverpool.”
The Reds manager will remember the defender well from his time at Dortmund, which means it’s probably less of a gamble than we might expect.
Former Schalke defender Joel Matip joined up with the Liverpool squad in 2016, and he’s always going to command a place when fully fit. He had slight injury worries last week as he hobbled off during the pre-season win against Wigan, but scans revealed that there was no serious damage.
Then again, there is space in the squad following the release of Kolo Toure (who is currently a free agent) and Martin Skrtel’s move to Fenerbahce. The coach is always likely to give the player a chance to establish himself, so joining doesn’t have to be a futile task.
Klavan has featured heavily for Augsburg over the past four seasons since signing from AZ in 2012. He’s made 30 appearances in the league every season since joining, becoming a lynchpin in the side that managed to finish fifth in 2014/15.
They finished 13th in the Bundesliga last season, and they were close to suffering the ignominy of relegation in the same year they competed in European competition.
It means that Liverpool will be able to offer an increased chance at silverware, but it’ll probably come at the cost of a first XI place when everyone gets back to full fitness. Is it worth taking the risk? It’ll be down to the player, but it seems like he’s willing to take a chance at a key stage of his career.
Joe Gomez suffered from a recent setback during his rehab following an injury that kept him out for most of last season, further highlighting the need to sign competent backup over the next few weeks.
Mamadou Sakho has also been hit with a recent achilles injury, so the signing could be seen as a cheap stop gap as they wait for players to return. It’s reported that the player will complete a medical on Tuesday morning, so expect an announcement in the next few days.
Given the inflated fees spent on players over the last few weeks, it’s refreshing to see that some can still be bought for reasonable prices. (Even if they don’t have as much international prestige.)
He could prove to be a competent addition to the squad, while he’s too cheap to be considered a flop if it all goes wrong. (It could prove to be a miss, but it’s not going to damage the club given the proposed fee and his age.)
The defender will be 31 in November, but he still has time to be a success at Liverpool. It’s a pivotal time in his career, and chances to move to a team like the Reds in future will probably be few and far between.
Looking back over his career, he’s won major honours with AZ, while he was voted the Estonian footballer of the year three times in the last five seasons.
He has over 100 caps for his international side, although he’ll want to forget the 7-0 thrashing dished out by Portugal during their last game.
He might lack the international fan base enjoyed by some of the more popular European defenders, but he’ll have a chance under the spotlight if he does manage to complete a move.
Circumstances have left the club in need of reinforcements, and Klavan has served Augsburg faithfully over the years. Everything seems to suggest that the hottest whisper of the day will be completed very soon.
If you want to see the player in action, here he is during the home game against Liverpool last season: