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Rumour Mongering: Liverpool Battle Juventus for Defensive Bosman

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The Reds are meant to want to sign Stefan de Vrij to a pre-contract in January but face tough competition.

SS Lazio v SPAL - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Marco Rosi/Getty Images

Liverpool went into the summer knowing they needed to sign a starting-calibre centre half to solidify their place in the top four in England and perhaps take another big step forward. They ended the window having not made that signing after their single-minded focus on Virgil van Dijk ended in failure.

It’s possible Liverpool won’t suffer for their failure to land their top centre half target, but the reality is that defence remains their biggest question mark and that’s mostly down to their summer failings. Next summer, though, they’re going to make up for it. At least according to reports out of Italy this week.

That’s because they’re going to do their best to beat Juventus and AC Milan to Lazio’s Stefan de Vrij, whose current contract expires next summer and can be signed to a pre-contract agreement in January. That’s some tough competition for the player, but Liverpool’s financial clout might give them the edge.

Or at least it might if their interest is legitimate, something that may not be the case given the terrible track record of Italian rumour mongers like Calciomercato, who are currently the ones pushing the story. Of note, though, is that even if De Vrij is a target, it doesn’t change Liverpool’s Van Dijk interest.

The Southampton man remains Liverpool and Jürgen Klopp’s top defensive target and, if his current club is struggling, they expect to return for him in January. And if they don’t return for him in January, they will next summer—assuming they have managed to maintain a place in the Champions League.

In any case, if the Italian rumour mongers are right and there is real interest in De Vrij, it would be in addition to rather than in place of Van Dijk, who remains the club’s top defensive target.