Liverpool are finalising the signing of Ozan Kabak on a £1 million loan from Schalke with an option to buy the defender for £18m plus add ons, ending a late scramble to ease their centre-back crisis on deadline day.
Shkodran Mustafi terminated his contract with Arsenal to join the German side, enabling the Premier League champions to push through their move for the Turkey international.
Kabak had been strongly recommended to Jurgen Klopp by his best friend David Wagner, who managed the 20-year-old at the Veltins-Arena.
Former Schalke sporting director Christian Heidel, who worked with the Liverpool boss at Mainz, also provided a glowing appraisal of the youngster.
Liverpool will potentially pay an extra £500,000 on the temporary agreement depending on appearances and Champions League qualification.
The option to buy doesn’t need to be activated until June and effectively gives the Merseysiders a try-before-you-buy arrangement, which suits them perfectly in the current climate.
Kabak was suspended for five games earlier this season for spitting at Werder Bremen’s Ludwig Augustinsson.
Liverpool had wanted Marseille’s Duje Caleta-Car, who is in the mould of Virgil van Dijk, but the Ligue 1 side understandably refused to sanction a move as there was not enough time for them to source a replacement.
They rebuffed a £20m proposal for the left-sided, right-footed player and that prompted negotiations over Kabak.
Liverpool were forced to act in the market after Joel Matip damaged ankle ligaments and Fabinho picked up a minor muscle issue, leaving them on the sidelines along with long-term absentees Van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
Braga’s David Carmo and Bayer Leverkusen’s Edmond Tapsoba were also considered as the club intensified their search with time ticking away in the window.
Preston’s Ben Davies will also be added to Liverpool’s squad for an initial £500,000, in a deal that could total around £1.6m with performance-based extras and comes with a 20% sell-on clause.
The 25-year-old is seen as one of the best defenders in the Championship with a high ceiling and Celtic were convinced they had landed him on a pre-contract before the defending champions registered their interest.
Burnley, Sheffield United and Bournemouth had also attempted a move for Davies.
Dutch centre-back Sepp van den Berg, 19, joins Preston on loan as part of the deal and they will have first option on him in the summer.