According to Italian journalist Fabio Santini via Standard Sport, Liverpool have identified Kalidou Koulibaly as Virgil van Dijk's replacement after the Dutchman suffered an ACL injury last week. The Reds confirmed in a statement earlier this week that the 29-year-old could miss the rest of the current campaign, having been on the wrong end of a nasty challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Koulibaly has reportedly been earmarked as Van Dijk's replacement, with reports from Italy suggesting that Liverpool have already tabled a bid in the region of €70-75 million for the Senegalese star. Santini, a journalist covering Napoli, claimed that the Reds are in serious talks for the defender.
"Attention: I have sensational news about Kalidou Koulibaly."
"Manchester City and United are on the Senegalese defender as well as PSG. The club that is more serious for the Senegalese is Liverpool.
"The Reds offer to Napoli a figure between 70 and 75 million euros, the sum that [Napoli chairman] De Laurentiis asks.”
Van Dijk's injury could scupper Liverpool's Premier League title bid
Van Dijk's injury came as a hammer blow for Liverpool, with the Dutchman an indispensable member of Jurgen Klopp's all-conquering side. Widely regarded as the best player in the world in his position, the 29-year-old took world football by storm since sealing a then world-record move to Liverpool and finished second in the 2019 Ballon d'Or behind Lionel Messi.
Liverpool have also been linked with the likes of Ben White, Dayot Upamecano and Jules Kounde, while there have also been reports that the Reds could consider snapping up a free agent to add depth to their squad.
With Joel Matip joining Van Dijk in the treatment room, Liverpool have just one fit senior central defender in Joe Gomez. Rhys Williams, Nat Phillips and Sepp van den Berg are in house options for the Reds and the trio are expected to be amongst the squad in the coming weeks.
Liverpool take on Ajax in the UEFA Champions League later today. Due to their defensive crisis, Fabinho is expected to partner Gomez at the heart of the backline, as the Reds prepare to face a crucial run of games without Van Dijk.
Published 21 Oct 2020, 20:37 IST