Liverpool new signing Ozan Kabak a ‘future captain’ as Jurgen Klopp hails ‘big talent’

Liverpool: Ozan Kabak in profile

Jurgen Klopp says his good friend David Wagner told him Ozan Kabak can be a “future captain” having managed the defender at Bundesliga side Schalke. Kabak joined Liverpool on loan on Monday evening and sign for the Reds on a permanent basis this summer.

The 20-year-old Turkey international was the second deadline day addition, subject to international clearance, made by Liverpool yesterday as the Premier League champions also snapped up Preston North End centre-back Ben Davies.

The pair will boost Klopp’s options in central defence amid a defensive injury crisis that has seen Joel Matip join Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez in suffering season-ending issues.

Kabak arrives highly rated and has long been tracked by Liverpool’s recruitment staff, having only joined Schalke from Stuttgart in the summer of 2019.

Liverpool have paid £1m to sign him for six months, with add-ons possibly adding another £500,000 to that fee, and will have to spend £18m if they want him permanently in June.

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But Klopp says Wagner, the former Huddersfield boss who was in charge at Schalke for 18 months before being sacked back in September, was bursting with praise for Kabak in conversations they held about the player.

And Klopp’s German compatriot reckons Kabak is skipper material in the future.

The Liverpool boss explained: “Yes, Dave was already very, very positive about him. He came very young to Germany and everybody was clear he was a massive talent.

“He is only 20 now. He plays in his second club [in Germany]; he is at Schalke and unfortunately they are in a bad position in the moment.

“For him, I think it’s a really good moment to make the move because, like each player in the world, you need a stable team around you and that’s what we can deliver.

“We deliver a stable team and you can play your position, you don’t have to be 20 with pretty much everything on the pitch and not allowed to make mistakes anymore.

“He’s really a big, big talent and we are really looking forward to working with him. Dave always said he will be a future captain of a team. He is a proper personality.

“When you go abroad in that young age, to another country and play for other clubs, he could have played in Turkey in each club he wants.

“Goes then to Stuttgart, goes then to Schalke. He could have gone anywhere but he wanted to make football steps and we are a proper football step for him. He wants to learn but he can deliver already.”

Kabak has not yet headed to Merseyside having completed his medical and signed his contract in Gelsenkirchen yesterday, meaning he will not expected to be included in a match-day squad until at least the weekend.

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The news of Kabak and Davies’ Anfield arrivals was offset by the news that Matip will not play again this season.

Klopp told Liverpool’s official website: “Unfortunately, we found out now after everybody looked at it that Joel will be out for the rest of the season.

“But he will be ready for the start of the next pre-season and finally everything will be sorted

“We should not forget that at Schalke when he was there he played pretty much all the time completely through, he never had something.

“Then he was unlucky with a [Kalidou] Koulibaly challenge against Napoli in the last second, in the Everton game kind of things, a little bit with the foot here and there.

“If something started and then the situation is like our situation – that nobody can really wait because of our situation with Virgil out and Joe out – we always had to try to find the first moment when he is able to play again.

“It was really unlucky because it was a brilliant challenge he made actually, he saved our life in that moment in the Tottenham game when he won the challenge against [Heung-min] Son.

“But he injured his ankle and played the game on and now is out for the season, so you can imagine how much he tried to stay on the pitch and tried to help us.

“We will wait for him. He has now the rest of this season, then the summer, then the pre-season to get ready again and he will be ready again.”

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