Rennes eye Liverpool defender to replace Arthur Theate

Liverpool's Joel Matip is on the shortlist for Stade Rennais as a possible replacement for Arthur Theate, who in turn has been linked with a move to Anfield.

The Reds are still interested in recruiting a defender this summer and are looking to find a versatile younger player, who can perform as a left-sided centre back.

Rennes' Belgian defender Theate has been one name mentioned as a possibility. The 23-year-old joined his current club for €20m in 2022 – making him the most expensive Belgian defender of all time.

After an impressive debut campaign in Ligue 1, Theate has been touted for a move again, with Liverpool, as well as RB Leipzig and Fulham, interested.

L'Equipe report that Rennes are already making contingency plans for Theate's possible exit and have shortlisted Matip as one option.

The 32-year-old is in the final year of his contract at Anfield and is not expected to get a renewal. There have also been question marks about Matip's suitability in Liverpool's new system that requires the right-sided centre back to cover the space out wide when Trent Alexander-Arnold pushes into midfield.

READ MORE: Can Joel Matip still be a reliable part of Liverpool's defence?

Whether Rennes would be open to a part-exchange deal between Matip and Theate is not specified in L'Equipe's report.

With Liverpool needing more depth at the back, letting Matip go to secure another player may also be seen as counter-productive.

Matip made his first appearance of the Premier League season in the 2-1 win over Newcastle on Sunday. The former Cameroon international is – should he not be sold before Deadline Day passes – likely to feature again as the Reds host Aston Villa at the weekend. Captain Virgil van Dijk will serve his suspension following the red card he was shown at St. James' Park, while Ibrahima Konate remains a fitness doubt.

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