According to reports surfacing from Italy over the weekend Liverpool have been given a set-back in their pursuit of highly-rated Lazio centre-back Stefan de Vrij, with Juventus entering the race for him.
After allowing veteran defender Leonardo Bonucci to join Serie A rivals AC Milan just last week, Corriere dello Sport claim that last season’s Champions League runners-up are interested in De Vrij.
The 25-year-old’s current contract runs out at the end of next season and, with reports suggesting that there’s a reluctance to sign an extension at Lazio, Liverpool could be poised for a transfer tussle, having previously been linked with the defender by Italian outlet Il Messaggero Sport, and more recently by The Sun.
Would De Vrij be a good addition to Liverpool’s squad?
Compared to the likes of Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren, Liverpool’s chosen centre-back pairing from last season, De Vrij is a confident and expansive defender who loves to play out from the back.
Since breaking through at Feyenoord in his native Holland, eventually earning a switch to Italy, he has announced himself on the European stage as a calm and composed player with a tendency to break out of the back-line and push his side forward up the pitch, also having a keen eye for a pass.
There is an intelligence to both his game and his positioning at the back that has made him such a success in Italy too, being tactically astute and having a good awareness of the opposition attackers.
Throw in the fact that he’s an extremely strong tackler, able to do last-ditch challenges as equally well as he can hold a player up, and De Vrij really looks like he could be useful in the Premier League.
His experience of both a three-man and a four-man defensive system for Lazio would stand him in good stead at Anfield, already having the versatility to fit in with Klopp’s often experimental systems.
At a reported fee of around £25 million – nearly a third of the price that they were prepared to pay for Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk, as per Sky Sports – he is a player well worth taking a gamble over.