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Who is Diogo Leite, the £13.23 million Liverpool-linked centre-back?

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Liverpool

Who is Diogo Leite, the £13.23 million Liverpool-linked centre-back?

Reports in The Guardian this week have linked highly-rated 19-year-old Porto centre-back Diogo Leite with a summer move to Anfield.

The signing of the Portuguese youth international would be a superb coup for Liverpool, as Leite offers an impressive array of defensive abilities for a teenager.

But who is the Porto youth team player, whose contract includes a 15 million (£13.23 million) euro release clause, and what will he offer the Reds?

Leite experienced his career breakthrough during the Under-17 European Championships in May 2016, in which the defender admirably led his country to the title while marshalling an airtight defence.

The Portuguese side did not concede a single goal in the group stage, quarterfinals, or semifinals. In a remarkable feat, Portugal kept five straight clean sheets in the tournament before finally conceding to Spain in the final.

Portugal went on to win on penalties, with Leite confidently stepping up and slotting a penalty into the bottom corner during the high-pressure shootout.

Throughout the Euros, the Porto defender stood out for his confident style of play. Seemingly never in a rush, Leite bosses the back four with a calm demeanour, snuffing out danger with intelligent clearances and commanding headers.

In addition, another prominent fixture in Leite’s style of play is his expansive passing range. The centre-back has a knack for coolly knocking the ball around the back, never resorting to hoofed long balls. And when Leite does go long, it is usually a measured, clipped through ball that finds a teammate on the wing.

These attributes make him the perfect defender for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, and it is clear to see why the Reds are the front-runners to win Leite’s signature.

With Joel Matip, Virgil van Dijk, Dejan Lovren, and Ragnar Klavan all 26 years of age or older, it is clear that Liverpool need a long-term replacement at the centre of defence.

Diogo Leite is the perfect man to fill that gap and could be a superb centre-back partner for Joe Gomez in future seasons.

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Max is a journalist studying at the University of Pennsylvania. Max specialises in English football and co-hosts a weekly podcast. He is also a politics reporter and deputy news editor for The Daily Pennsylvanian.

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