Virgil van Dijk

Liverpool are reportedly interested in acquiring the services of Southampton centre-back Armel Bella-Kotchap in the near future as a long-term replacement for defender Virgil van Dijk.

Bella-Kotchap, 20, joined Southampton from VfL Bochum earlier this summer for a fee in the region of £9 million earlier this summer. Since arriving at the St. Mary’s Stadium, he has been part of five out of six Premier League matches for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side, contributing one assist in the process.

Due to his stellar performances, Bella-Kotchap recently earned a first senior team call-up from Germany ahead of their UEFA Nations League games against Hungary and England.

According to Fichajes.net, Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp is a big admirer of Bella-Kotchap and views him as a successor to Van Dijk at Anfield, who turned 31 this July. Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are also keeping tabs on the towering German.

Klopp currently has Van Dijk, Joel Matip, Ibrahima Konate and Joe Gomez at his disposal in the centre-back position. With Gomez suffering a poor start to the season, Liverpool could be compelled to pursue Bella-Kotchap in January, as per the aforementioned report.

Bella-Kotchap is valued in the region of £15 million by Transfermarkt. However, he is expected to cost more than double the value due to his existing four-year deal at Southampton.

Prior to his summer move, Bella-Kotchap made his name as a teenager in the German second tier. He helped Bochum earn promotion to the Bundesliga in the 2020-21 season and helped them to a 13th-place finish in the German top flight last time around.

Overall, the German has registered one goal and an assist in 74 matches for his former club.

Southampton will next face Aston Villa away from home in the Premier League on Friday (September 16).

Gabriel Agbonlahor slams Joe Gomez for recent Liverpool outing
Speaking to Football Insider, former Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor claimed that Joe Gomez will struggle to get more minutes for Liverpool this season. The centre-back was dropped from the starting lineup after his shambolic performance in his team’s 4-1 loss at Napoli in the UEFA Champions League last week.

Addressing Gomez’s chances of returning to the first team, Agbonlahor said:

“Gomez looked like a Sunday League defender against Napoli, he couldn’t get near anyone and didn’t look like he wanted to defend. It was one of those performances where you take yourself off.”
He added:

“You hold your hands up and say, ‘Gaffer, I have to come off, I’ve been so poor.’ I just can’t see him getting back in. He didn’t play for a long time last season, he finally got a chance and he’s not taken it.”

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