Dayot Upamecano will be a Bayern Munich player in 2021-22, meaning Liverpool and Chelsea must go back to the drawing board.
The Premier League rivals had each been linked with a move for the RB Leipzig centre-back as they look to add to their options at heart of defence.
Now they each must look to different targets come the end of the season, with injuries and poor play at the back having derailed the Reds’ hopes of winning a second successive league title.
But which centre-backs could be part of Liverpool and Chelsea’s plans to pose a more serious challenge to Manchester City next season?
Here we look at four players who could be playing their football at Liverpool or Stamford Bridge next season.
The Torino defender is reported to be Liverpool’s top close-season target after an impressive season in Serie A.
His 75 clearances are the second-most in the Italian top flight among defenders, while Bremer has also excelled at making recoveries.
Indeed, he has tallied 114, putting him 11th among defenders to have played at least 10 league games. Only four defenders have won more aerial duels than Bremer’s 47.
Chelsea have been linked with the man Upamecano is seemingly set to replace, though Alaba’s wage structure may reportedly be a sticking point for the Blues.
Alaba’s versatility to play across the back four and in midfield would certainly appeal to Chelsea and former Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel.
6pack! We made history! pic.twitter.com/XguULk7EYp
— David Alaba (@David_Alaba) February 11, 2021
The Austria international has consistently demonstrated his prowess in attack as well as at the back.
He has created at least 17 chances in every season since 2010-11 and has crafted 10 in 19 league appearances this season.
Could Leipzig be raided again? Both Chelsea and Liverpool have been linked with Konate, the France Under-21 international signed from Sochaux in 2017.
Injuries have been a problem for Konate, who has played only 15 league games since the start of last season.
However, when he has played extensively, he has shown his quality.
Konate featured 28 times in the Bundesliga in 2018-19 and was sixth in the league with 100 aerial duels won, contributing to 12 clean sheets, a tally only bettered by two players – his Leipzig team-mates Marcel Halstenberg (15) and Willi Orban (13).
Liverpool are thought to be keen on Kounde, but they will likely face competition from across Europe for the Sevilla defender’s services.
Kounde has emerged as one of the finest young defenders in European football is again excelling this season.
3 – Defenders to have scored and completed 50+ passes in a single game against Barcelona in all competitions since at least 2013/14:
2015 – Medhi Benatia (68) – Champions League
2020 – Sergio Ramos (53) – LaLiga
2021 – JULES KOUNDÉ (63) – #CopadelRey
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) February 10, 2021
With 106 recoveries in 2020-21, Kounde – who has also previously been linked with Barcelona and Manchester City – has proven a reliable presence in the heart of defence, while he can also start attacks.
His 136 successful passes into the final third are more than Barca’s Clement Lenglet (132) and Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos (128).
Ramos (84.77) and Lenglet (80.49) have a higher accuracy percentage on those passes than Kounde’s 76.84, but at just 22 he has the time and the talent to develop into one of the world’s top centre-backs.
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