18 December 2020 04:31
Liverpool have added Roma centre-back Roger Ibanez to their list of defensive targets, according to a report. Defence is an area of priority for Liverpool at present, after Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez both suffered serious injuries. The first-choice pairing might not feature until next season. That leaves Joel Matip, who is also injury prone, as the only senior centre-back among their ranks. Fabinho has dropped into a deeper role to provide cover in recent months, while Jurgen Klopp has also called upon academy graduates like Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips.
Several figures from inside the club maintain that Liverpool are more likely to stick with those players rather than bring in a new face in January. However, they continue to be linked with a number of potential reinforcements. The latest suggestion, according to ASRomaLive, is Ibanez, who has enjoyed a rapid rise in 2020. The Brazilian joined Roma from Atalanta in January, having previously only played twice for his former club. Ibanez established himself as a key player for Roma after making his debut post-lockdown, though. He is now a regular starter for the club. The Italian side are already bracing themselves for bids for the 22-year-old. He already has three suitors in the Premier League. Leicester and Tottenham were keen during the summer transfer window. At the time, Roma wanted at least €30m before they would consider selling Ibanez. Now, that asking price may have risen further, to somewhere between €35m and €40m. PSG to battle with Liverpool The report adds that Liverpool are not the only team to have joined the race for Ibanez. Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain are also keen. Ibanez is seen by the PSG hierarchy as a potential long-term replacement for his Brazilian compatriot Thiago Silva, who left the French capital to join Chelsea this summer. However, PSG are willing to wait until next summer to make their offer. There may be more urgency from Liverpool. If the Reds go against their public message and do enter the transfer market in January, Ibanez could be one of the options they consider. However, Roma are already planning to extend Ibanez's contract – which expires in 2023 – to fend off potential suitors. Therefore, there could be a small window of opportunity for Liverpool to pounce. READ MORE: Liverpool ready to open talks with defensive colossus Klopp is 'big fan of'