After another loss in which, among other things, the limitations of their available centre-backs was exposed, Liverpool have been subject to a host of links to potential defensive recruits. A permanent deal for Ozan Kabak has been suggested to accompany the proposed Ibrahima Konaté transfer this summer, and today, rumous emerged that the Reds had made contact with Virgil van Dijk’s international partner, Stefan de Vrij.
Now, Stefan de Vrij is a solid central defender for a upper echelon European side, boasting terrific long passing and passable pace, although he is somewhat light in the air for his height, but there are a number of reasons he is absolutely not on Jürgen Klopp’s shopping list this summer.
First of all, the Reds already passed on the former Feyenoord man back in 2018, when he joined Inter on a free transfer. One could argue that Klopp was satisfied with his defensive options at the time, having just recently signed van Dijk for a club-record fee, but there is little doubt that if they had rated his ability, he would have fit the club’s age and value profiles, and they would have been able to convince de Vrij Anfield was a more appropriate landing place than San Siro.
Now, three years later, de Vrij is 29. He still has two years left on his deal at Inter, with the club reportedly confident the player will sign an extension. He is an established starter for Antonio Conte, having the second most appearances of any outfield player in the squad this season. And, perhaps most crucially, he is represented by loathsome money goblin Mino Raiola, who, after the fiasco of Mario Balotelli’s Merseyside ‘mare and its associated hubbub, is considered a persona non grata beyond the Shankly Gates.
The Reds will sign at least one central defender this summer. For all the reasons stated above, de Vrij won’t be it. And in the end, that’s probably the best outcome for all parties involved.