Liverpool confirm Ozan Kabak transfer in second deadline day signing after Ben Davies
Liverpool: Ozan Kabak in profile
Liverpool have confirmed their second signing of the January transfer window with Ozan Kabak’s loan move from Schalke officially complete, subject to international clearance. The Turkish centre-back follows Ben Davies in joining the Premier League champions on deadline day to boost Jurgen Klopp’s ranks.
The Reds have been decimated by injuries defensively and played captain Jordan Henderson alongside Nat Phillips for Sunday’s 3-1 Premier League win at West Ham, with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and stand-in Fabinho all sidelined.
But Kabak and Davies have strengthened Liverpool’s options as they look to trim the gap to league leaders Manchester City, who they face on Merseyside this Sunday.
It remains to be seen whether the pair will be involved in either of Liverpool’s matches this week. They welcome Brighton to Anfield on Wednesday night before their top-of-the-table showdown with City.
Kabak joins from German giants Schalke on an initial six-month loan for which Liverpool are understood to have paid £1million. They have the option, not an obligation, to make the move permanent for £18m in the summer.
The 20-year-old Turkey international, who made 42 first-team appearances at Schalke, becomes Liverpool’s new No 19.
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Davies meanwhile joins from Championship side Preston North End for an initial £500,000 though the fee could rise to a little over £1.5m.
The centre-back, who can also play at left-back, has signed a long-term contract at Anfield and arrives having been at Preston since the age of 11.
He was named the Lilywhites’ Player of the Year in 2018-19 and had also captained the club, making just shy of 150 appearances for the Lancashire side.
Davies becomes Liverpool’s new No 28 with the jersey last worn by Danny Ings, now at Southampton, and said: “It’s a huge opportunity. Obviously it came as a bit of a surprise when it first came but once you start to get your head around it, the opportunity that is in front of me is incredible.
“I’d be silly to not make the most of it and learn off the players [at the club]. I want to come in and play games to start with, I want to get my foot in the door and make myself a Premier League player rather than obviously a Championship player. And then take it from there really.
“I know we’ve got some top players here and players I can certainly learn from. Once you get your foot in the door then you’re here as well. Hopefully I can take my chance and then move forward with it.
“I’m looking forward to coming in and playing in front of everyone and showing everyone what I can do. I’m sure a lot of fans and people don’t know [me], or haven’t even seen me play.
“It’s definitely an exciting time and I think they’ll quite enjoy watching me when I’m playing well.”
Klopp admitted about the signing of Davies: “I think it’s probably clear that in a normal transfer window, without any issues, we would not look at Preston [to see] if there’s a player for us or something like that. It’s not really likely.
“But since we saw him and since our situation got clearer and clearer – the problems we had – when we saw him we got really excited about it and thought, ‘Wow.’ He’s a boy who played his whole life for Preston, is around the corner pretty much.
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“We see the potential really. We see the quality and we see the potential as well because he’s 25 and there’s a lot to come for him. I love a lot about his play.
“He’s a really good footballer, looks like a proper leader in this Preston team, good in challenges, looks football smart, can play different positions because he played in a back three and a back four and all these things.
“That makes him really interesting so I’m really looking forward to working with him. I know for him it’s an opportunity and I see it exactly the same for us, that it’s a really good thing to do.”
As part of the deal that took Davies to Merseyside, Liverpool youngster Sepp van den Berg will spend the rest of the current campaign at Deepdale and could extend his stay for the entirety of next season too.
The 20-year-old Netherlands youth international, who has made four first-team appearances for the Reds, said of his stint with Preston: “I’m looking forward to it. I’m happy I’m here.
“I’m happy hopefully I can play a lot of games, I hopefully can achieve something good this season so I’m really looking forward to the season.
“I’ve had a look around and everything looks good. The people that I’ve met have been really nice to me so I’m really looking forward and the facilities are good so hopefully I can develop here very well.”
Van den Berg could make his Preston debut in their Championship clash with Rotherham on Saturday.
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