Liverpool transfer: 5 alternative defensive targets to Levi Colwill

So much of Liverpool's focus this summer has been on successfully navigating an inflated market to secure a midfield rebuild that will allow the club to challenge for honours once again.

Alexis Mac Allister was the first through the door, at a bargain price of around £35m. Next up was Dominik Szoboszlai — a £60m attacking midfielder, who seemingly came out of nowhere.

At the age of 24 and 22 respectively, both signings indicate Liverpool are building for the here and now, as well as the future and further midfield reinforcements are expected.

Now that the Reds are beginning to get their midfield under control, focus has naturally turned towards recruiting a centre back. With Joel Matip's contract expiring next summer and the 31-year-old showing no signs of being offered a new deal, as well as the question marks over Joe Gomez's ability and Ibrahima Konate's fitness record, the need for defensive reinforcements seems a no-brainer.

Step forward, Levi Colwill. The stand-out candidate, and the most heavily linked of the bunch, Colwill has every attribute Liverpool are looking for in a centre back, and at the young age of 20, the sky is his limit.

However, with Chelsea desperate to keep hold of their prodigy and a huge fee being needed to pry him away from Stamford Bridge, the deal may prove difficult. Instead, here's a list of five alternative central defenders that Liverpool could and should look be looking at:

Goncalo Inacio

If there's one name that's been touted with a move to Liverpool more than Levi Colwill, it's Sporting's 6ft 1in centre back — and for good reason!

Incacio is a left-sided defender and perfectly fits the profile of what Liverpool are searching for if they are to continue with the system that brought them their much-needed return to form at the tail-end of last season.

A front-footed defender, the 21-year-old has been a stand-out performer amongst his peers in a plethora of attributes over the past year.

When compared to other centre halves in the top eight leagues, Incacio is incredible in possession - ranking in the 99th percentile for passes completed, progressive passes, and shot-creating actions, all while maintaining a cool 89.6% passing completion rate.

The defender also rises to the top for progressive carries and successful take-ons, ranking in the 97th and 96th percentiles respectively.

Micky van de Ven

© Proshots - Micky van de Ven

Another name synonymous with Liverpool this summer, Wolfsburg's youngster is hotly tipped as one of the Netherlands' best up-and-coming defenders.

If there's one word to describe this man, it's rapid. Coming in with a top speed of an outrageous 22.3 mph (35.97 km/h), van de Ven was by far the quickest central defender in the entire Bundesliga last season.

While adding the 22-year-old's pace to an already turbo-charged backline of Konate and Van Dijk is mouth-watering, the chances of the Reds securing the defender's signature are slim as it stands, due to the interest of a Premier League rival.

Tottenham are heavily linked with a move for the Dutchman as they look to bolster their defence, but you can't help but feel if Liverpool wanted to pull the trigger, a hijack could very easily be on the cards. Whether the club green-light a move remains to be seen, but a youngster with great potential and versatility certainly ticks a lot of boxes.

Marc Guéhi

First linked to the club by Football Insider, Marc Guéhi is certainly an interesting choice for Jurgen Klopp to consider.

The soon-to-be 23-year-old predominately plays his football on the left side of Crystal Palace's centre back partnership, despite actually being right-footed.

The positives are that he is a proven Premier League defender with four senior caps for England, so he would tick that all-important homegrown box that Liverpool are lacking, especially with the departures of James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

However, these are only positives as long as the price is right. With a staggering reported price tag in excess of £60m, Jurgen Klopp and the Anfield decision makers would almost certainly prefer to pursue other, more cost-efficient, signings.

Alessandro Bastoni

© Proshots - Alessandro Bastoni

Arguably the most high-profile of Liverpool's reported centre back targets, signing Inter's Alessandro Bastoni would undoubtedly be a statement of intent to the rest of the Premier League.
Standing at 6ft 2in, the Italian boasts similar qualities to Gonçalo Inacio, ranking within the top 10% for progressive passes, progressive carries and shot-creating actions.
Impressively for a ball-playing centre back, the Italian also ranks in the 99th percentile for assists and expected assists per 90 minutes, while also being solid at the other end, averaging 1.75 tackles per game.

Bastoni would be an impressive signing, and even with a market value of around similar to Marc Guehi, the 24-year-old seems like a much more intriguing proposition. Whether Inter would be willing to sell, given that Milan Škriniar has just left for PSG, is a different story.

Antonio Silva

The final centre back on this list also plays his football in Portugal, representing Benfica. Antonio Silva has been subject to tentative links to Liverpool and it's clear to see why.

At just 19 years of age, the centre back resides in the 87th percentile for tackles per 90 minutes, and the 98th percentile for pass completion rate, when compared with centre backs in the top eight leagues. Not bad at all.

Not only is the youngster above average defensively, but he has an eye for a goal - sitting in the top 12% of central defenders for non-penalty goals in the last 12 months.

It's worth noting that Liverpool have a solid working relationship with Benfica, and with Antonio Silva likely available at a cheaper rate than others in this list, this could be one to watch as the transfer window continues.

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