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Liverpool Set to Lose Defensive Target to Napoli

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A month ago he was a favourite to end up at Liverpool in the summer; now Modibo Diakite is ready to sign a pre-contract that will see him head to Napoli instead.

Paolo Bruno

Towards the end of the January transfer window, the agent for Modibo Diakite called Liverpool his client's first choice destination for when his contract was up in the summer. A month later, Liverpool appear all but out of the running for the services of the 25-year-old French centre half who has made a name for himself at Lazio.

In an interview with Redio Sei this week, agent Ulisse Savani confirmed that if everything goes according to plan, "Diakite [will] leave Lazio in June on a free transfer to accept the offer from Napoli." It's news that will come as something of a blow for fans who saw the Frenchman as a potential bargain replacement for Jamie Carragher.

With Carragher retiring while Martin Skrtel and Sebastian Coates appear to not be in manager Brendan Rodgers' plans, Liverpool will almost certainly need more than one defensive signing over the summer. With that in mind, Diakite would have provided a safe, veteran option and made for an ideal arrival along with a promising but unproven youngster like Stefan de Vrij.

Liverpool, though, either weren't willing to meet Diakite's wage demands or they weren't ever really interested in the player in the first place, leaving Rodgers to move on to other experienced defensive targets to bolster a backline set for a massive overhaul.

Swansea centre back Ashley Williams, who many believed was Rodgers' preferred target all along despite any rumours liking the club to Diakite, now takes up the mantle of favoured veteran defensive signing. And for the time being at least, he's unopposed in that role.

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