Ozan Kabak’s Liverpool setback could be short lived after Leicester City emerged as shock suitors for the defender.
The 21-year-old joined the Reds on loan during the January window, as Jurgen Klopp looked to find a solution to his wretched injury problems.
With Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all ruled out for the season, Liverpool signed Kabak along with Preston defender Ben Davies.
In total, the Turkey international made 13 appearances in England, but did miss the last month of the season with a muscular injury.
As part of the deal with Schalke, Klopp’s side had an £18million option to bring him to Anfield on a permanent basis.
However, it is understood they will not be triggering that clause and will instead sign RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate.
The £35m deal for Konate is believed to be close and could be Klopp’s first acquisition of what promises to be a pivotal summer.
And according to SPORT, Konate’s departure from Leipzig could see the Bundesliga side target Kabak after Schalke’s relegation.
Along with Leipzig, Leicester are another side potentially looking at the centre-back, despite having plenty of options in that position.
Club captain Wes Morgan announced his retirement earlier this month, but Wesley Fofana, Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu represent good strength in depth at the King Power.
Although he opted against signing him long-term, Klopp spoke in glowing terms about Kabak’s impact on Merseyside, coming in at a time of desperate need.
Are Liverpool right to not sign Ozan Kabak permanently? Comment below
“Ozan was absolutely incredible,” Klopp said last week. “He did a great job and not to forget he is a young, young, young boy with incredible experience already.
“He was in different clubs, moved early from Turkey to Germany. Played in two big clubs in Germany in difficult situations, which is obviously not his fault.
“We could all see when he arrived here he needed a little bit of time to adapt. Then he played super games for us.”
As for Kabak himself, he has hinted that he is keen to continue plying his trade at the very highest level in order to keep improving.
“I try to plan about my career and be better at what I do instead of daydreaming,” he says, in an end-of-season interview with Liverpool’s official programme.
“In football, teams can become champions by winning games and footballers can become more valuable by improving themselves.
“And I am focused on being a much more valuable asset for my club and country.”