Another day, another defender linked to Manchester United. According to reports, the Red Devils are ready to rival Serie A giants AC Milan and Inter Milan for the signature of young Schalke defender Ozan Kabak.
The 20-year-old is regarded as one of the most promising emerging young talents in the world and is currently being monitored by a lot of big clubs around Europe.
The Turkish footballer progressed through the youth ranks at Galatasaray, joining the club as an 11-year-old. He subsequently moved to Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart in January 2019, and six months later, he was at Schalke 04. It was with Die Knappen that Kabak rose to fame and made a name for himself.
He transformed into a dependable force within the space of a season and soon had scouts from all around Europe, including Manchester United, monitoring his development.
It was initially reported that AC Milan and Inter Milan were the two sides interested in the young defender, who looked set for a move to Italy. However, Manchester United’s apparent interest and late arrival into the scene has now thrown that race wide open.
Manchester United not the only Premier League side monitoring Kabak
But Manchester United are not the only Premier League team monitoring the Turkish defender. Liverpool are also interested in Kabak, especially now that Virgil van Dijk looks set to miss the majority of this season on the sidelines with injury.
The Dutch defender was knocked down by an unpleasant tackle from Everton keeper Jordan Pickford during the opening stages of the Merseyside derby. The Englishman was lucky not to receive his marching orders and Liverpool now have to spend the next few months without their talismanic defender. As such, their interest in Kabak is justified.
Manchester United’s position is not too good either. Shipping 12 goals in the first five games of the season has confirmed what many feared for long – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s backline is simply not good enough. And after spending tremendous amounts of money on the defense ever since the departure of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, the Red Devils are no closer to finding defensive solidity akin to their champion teams of old.
In such circumstances, Solskjaer too cannot be blamed for seeking answers to his defensive woes elsewhere. The Harry Maguire – Victor Lindelof pair, that looked so stable last term, appears vulnerable now. Eric Bailly’s relationship with the treatment table continues, while Axel Tuanzebe remains the only other defender Solskjaer trusts in his squad. Kabak would represent the ideal candidate for the Norwegian’s youth-centric transfer policy too.
The Turkish defender has four years remaining on his current contract with Schalke, who would demand upwards of €35m to part with their prized asset. Manchester United just might agree to their demands come January.Published 28 Oct 2020, 01:52 IST