Champions League finalists Liverpool have identified two English centre backs as part of a defensive rebuild this summer.
The two defenders who have been named are Newcastle United’s Jamaal Lascelles and Burnley’s James Tarkowski. According to The Independent, Jurgen Klopp is keeping a very close eye on both defenders with an intent of making a bid of at least one after the Champions League final.
Lascelles has been the heart and soul of the Newcastle defence in the past twelve months, and a move to Liverpool would only prove his talent even more, as it did for Virgil van Dijk after his big money move to Anfield from Southampton. The 24-year-old signed for Newcastle in 2014 after an impressive few years at Nottingham Forest, where Lascelles progressed through their youth academy. The Derby-born defender was named in the PFA Championship Team of the Year for the 2016-17 season, as well as picking up a Championship winner’s medal. The former Stevenage loanee made 36 appearances for Newcastle in the 2017/18 season, scoring on three occasions.
As for Tarkowski, he has been part of one of the strongest defensive trios in recent years in the Premier League, alongside Ben Mee in central defence and Nick Pope in goal. The 25-year-old signed for Burnley in 2016 after an impressive spell at Brentford, where he made seventy appearances, and was promoted to the Championship in 2014. Tarkowski started his career at Oldham, spending five years at the club, including two years in the youth academy. The Manchester-born defender made 33 appearances last season, and helped guide Burnley to a very impressive Europa League qualification place.
The need of a centre-back is less about bringing in a crucial first team player, but mainly to add depth to a backline which lacks star power outside of a few players. Both Burnley and Newcastle will be hoping to hold onto as many key players as possible this summer, and a large amount of money would have to be paid out if either club is to let go of players who were so important to them in the 2017/18 season.