Date: 25th February 2013 at 4:43pm
Written by:

Despite the winter transfer window closing last month there has been no shortage of stories linking the Reds with new players over the past few days…

The transfer window has now been closed for almost a full month and although it does not reopen until the end of the season, a number of players are still being linked with moves to Anfield on a regular basis.

During January, Liverpool successfully tackled their perceived lack of attacking options by securing the signatures of Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho for a combined fee in excess of £20m.

Now, looking at the reports which have emanated over the past few days at least, the club’s focus has shifted to the defence with a number of new recruits being lined up.

Such a decision would be sensible given the imminent retirement of stalwart centre-back Jamie Carragher and doubts over the future of other personnel such as Sebastian Coates and goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

Here are the most plausible of the stories we have seen…

Name: Stefan De Vrij
Club: Feyenoord
Nationality: Dutch
Position: Defender
Age: 21
Value: £10-15m

The rising Netherlands star has been strongly linked to a move to Liverpool with the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror and Sky Sports all reporting the story over recent days.

The 21-year-old, who already has three full international caps, has captained Feyenoord since the age of 19 but with only 18 months left on his current contract there is uncertainty surrounding the centre-back’s future.

Scouts from the club, as well as Newcastle United, are believed to have been present to watch the player during the 2-1 win over PSV Eindhoven at the weekend. Everton and Tottenham Hotspur are also thought to be interested.

De Vrij is said to be aware of the Premier League interest and has subsequently indicated that he is no rush to sign a new deal with Feyenoord.

“I want to see what is happening now,” he was quoted as saying recently. “I will focus on playing for the club and for Holland, but I won’t sit down with the club now about a new contract.”

Vital Verdict
This could be an excellent addition for both the present and long-term future of the club. Based on the occasions we have seen De Vrij, he reads the game well and times his tackles expertly. Also, and perhaps crucially to Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, the defender looks comfortable in possession and not afraid to bring the ball out of defence.

Likelihood (out of 5):

Name: Angelo Ogbonna
Club: Torino
Nationality: Italian
Position: Defender
Age: 24
Value: £17m

The Daily Express reckon the powerful defender, who is of Nigerian descent, could be at the centre of a summer transfer tussle involving a host of leading Italian sides, plus Arsenal and Liverpool.

Sourcing the rumour from a story in Football Italia, the newspaper suggests it may take as much as £17m to buy the 24-year-old however.

Despite being a rising star, Ogbonna is best known for escaping unharmed from a car accident after poor visibility saw the player lose control and career off a bridge and into a river.

Vital Verdict
It certainly appears the five-cap Italian international centre-back is ready to move on from his current employers but given the fee quoted and the fact he supposedly wants Champions League football, it is doubtful Liverpool will be his destination. Ogbonna did look a decent player when Italy played against England in a friendly last year however so there could be interest.

Likelihood (out of 5):

Name: Dejan Lovren
Club: Lyon
Nationality: Croatian
Position: Defender
Age: 23
Value: £8.5m

The former Dinamo Zagreb man has had an impressive season in the French top tier after previous campaigns were hindered by a succession of injuries.

Regarded as a complete defender, Lovren also put in a good showing during the recent Europa League tie with Tottenham Hotspur.

In addition to Liverpool, the Daily Express suggest Chelsea and Everton are also monitoring the centre-back’s situation.

Vital Verdict
Certainly a player who would interest Liverpool given his age, ability and the possible price. Sadly, as with many other highly-rated players, there are likely to be other teams interested who can offer Lovren Champions League football which may see him move elsewhere should the Reds make an offer.

Likelihood (out of 5):

Name: Guillermo Ochoa
Club: Ajaccio
Nationality: Mexican
Position: Goalkeeper
Age: 27
Value: Free

With over 50 caps to his name, Ochoa is an established name in world football who has been regularly linked with Europe’s top clubs over the past couple of seasons.

There was even talk of a £5m approach from Liverpool in January but nothing materialised despite the player entering the final six months of his existing deal with the unfancied French outfit.

Olympiacos, Fenerbahce, Besiktas and Sevilla have all been linked in the past but, according to the Daily Mail and Sky Sports, Ochoa has admitted a move to Anfield would be a ‘dream’.

He is quoted by the media outlets as telling Orange: “There was some communication with Liverpool, but I let everything be handled by my agent and my club’s president. My job is to remain focused and think about my team, Ajaccio.

“There is no doubt, though, that this is a dream I have had since I came to Europe, since I started playing football.”

Vital Verdict
Many fans would like to see the goalkeeping department strengthened even if current number one Pepe Reina remains on Merseyside past the end of the current campaign. The Spaniard’s indifferent form over the past couple of years could in part be explained by a lack of competition for his place with understudies Brad Jones and Peter Gulacsi clearly not in the same league as the 30-year-old. Ochoa has pedigree as well as an eccentric streak which could bring back memories of the legendary Bruce Grobbelaar. Given he is out of contract shortly there certainly seems to be little stopping an approach from the Reds.

Likelihood (out of 5):

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