The search for a new Centre Back has reportedly seen Liverpool cast their eyes to Italy with Inter Milan’s Alessandro Bastoni linked.
The key defensive absentees have been well documented this season and a number of stop-gap measures have had to be put into place by Jurgen Klopp.
Taking all the adversity into account, the back four have held up remarkably well with the emerging partnership of Ozan Kabak and Nat Phillips impressing many observers.
Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip are set to return for the new campaign but with all three coming off long-term injuries, they will not be at their sharpest and their minutes may well have to be monitored to guard against the risk of muscular injuries on their return.
Liverpool do have the option to sign Kabak on a permanent deal from Schalke in the summer while the future of Ben Davies is uncertain with the former Preston man not having played a competitive minute since arriving at the end of January.
It is perhaps why, Liverpool are continuing to scour the market and Gazzetta dello Sport (via Metro) report that Bastoni is high on their list.
Bastoni was signed by Inter for a fee of €31m (£26.5m) in 2017 and was immediately loaned back to Atalanta for the 2017/18 season.
The centre-back spent the next year on loan at Parma before returning to Inter last term to play a key role under Antonio Conte.
The consistent play of the 6 ft 3 in youngster who has already won three caps for Italy, has alerted many of the top clubs in Europe including Barcelona and Bayern Munich and it is believed he will cost in the region of £43million.
The scouting notes on the youngster say that he excels with the ball at his feet. He is eager to take risks and move the ball out of defence, and does so with sharp short passing and competent long passing skills. He loves to bring the ball out with mazing dribbles down the left flank and does so with confidence.
Bastoni is viewed as an aggressive defender and isn't afraid to step out and tackle high up to snuff out any danger early on.
Some of the things that Bastoni can work on include his quickness which cause his team problems when defending a high line, as he doesn’t have the lightning pace to recover and beat his opponent in a foot race.
In order to compensate for his lack of speed, he must improve when it comes to his positional awareness, namely, marking his opponent and following blind-side movements.
Liverpool will be certain to be linked to more central defenders as we move closer to the summer transfer window.
Bastoni looks like someone with a strong pedigree at a good age but on the other side of the coin, there have been countless tales of Italian defenders coming over to England and struggling to adapt to the pace of the Premier League.
So time will tell whether this move comes to fruition.