Schalke boss Christian Gross says the Bundesliga club were happy to let Ozan Kabak leave for Liverpool because of Jurgen Klopp’s influence.
The Premier League champions paid just £1m up front as a loan fee with the option to buy the centre-back for £18m at the end of the season.
Kabak completed the formalities of the switch in Gelsenkirchen and will travel to Merseyside later this week.
The 20-year-old arrives at Anfield after two years in the Bundesliga, where he represented Stuttgart before joining Schalke in July 2019.
He has though been on Klopp’s target list for some time and the media have documented the Reds’ interest in Kabak on numerous occasions.
It’s a transfer which was not a surprise, unlike their shock swoop for Ben Davies, which was also wrapped up on Monday.
Klopp and Liverpool looked likely to keep their powder dry in January until Joel Matip and Fabinho picked up injuries last week. The club have since confirmed that Matip’s ankle injury will sideline him for the remainder of the season. That led to Liverpool stepping up their defender hunt.
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Gross claims he was more than happy to let Kabak move on, with the player himself pleading for Schalke to make the deal happen.
“When Ozan heard the name Liverpool, he didn’t hesitate long and asked the club to do everything possible to make it work,” Gross told Kicker via Sport Witness.
“If he has the opportunity to continue his career at Liverpool, no player will have to think twice.
“The opportunity to train under Klopp will definitely help him.
“Of course, in that case, he will look to himself first, but we only handed him over with the certainty that we had a very good replacement for him.”
Schalke moved quickly to agree a deal with Shkodran Mustafi, who had his contract with Arsenal paid up.
Liverpool blocked Williams move
Meanwhile, Takumi Minamino, who joined the Reds for £7.25m from Red Bull Salzburg in 2019, has joined Southampton on loan until the end of the season.
Saints also wanted another Liverpool man, but Klopp blocked Neco Williams’ exit.
According to Sky Sports, Southampton made an offer to take Williams on loan for the rest of the season. They were on the lookout for more options in the full-back areas.
Williams had been identified as a short-term target, but Liverpool have decided against allowing him to leave.
With no other options at right-back behind Alexander-Arnold, the Premier League champions were reluctant to let the 19-year-old make the switch to the South Coast.
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