With just one game left to go in the season, it seems almost certain that Dejan Lovren will go down as the flop of the season for Liverpool. Spending £20M on a player meant to be a vocal and commanding defensive leader who would start ahead of Mamadou Sakho and whose arrival meant the departure of Daniel Agger only to have him fail so completely means there’s really no competition.
Mario Balotelli, due to his reputation, might get some consideration, but he cost less than Lovren and has been less actively harmful—both through his performances, by way of who he was keeping on the bench, and who his arrival drove out of the club—to Liverpool’s season. Meanwhile, Adam Lallana may have cost more, but when fit he’s been a net positive in the side even if he’s failed to so far live up to the hefty price tag.
Most have assumed that Liverpool’s investment in Lovren would mean sticking with a settled back line heading into next season, but ESPN FC believe that the club are keeping a close eye on Juventus’ 26-year-old centre half Angelo Ogbonna. The left-sided centre half, once considered amongst Italy’s most promising young defenders and a potential world class prospect, has stagnated in recent years and could be available on the cheap.
At Juventus, following a move in 2013, he has found himself unable to move up the depth chart. Though he’s a little older than the type of player typically targeted by Liverpool, his status as a former world class prospect who hasn’t quite panned out does seem to fit the club’s buying patterns, and if he did arrive it would be in the clear role as backup to Sakho on the left. That likely only happens, though, if Lovren is sold.
Ogbonna doesn’t fit the profile of potential Kolo Toure replacement, and as a primarily left-sided player, his arrival would likely have to lead to a departure as Lovren’s did last summer. All of which makes it seem a rather unlikely transfer rumour, though if the stars were to align such that Liverpool could swap Ogbonna for Lovren while turning a profit, it’s likely few fans would complain.
Tottenham are also rumoured to be interested in Ogbonna, and according to ESPN, both clubs have been tracking the player since before he moved to Juventus and remain intrigued despite that he’s now spent two largely unimpressive seasons with the Italian giants.
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