Liverpool to do battle with West Ham and Fenerbahçe for defender’s signature

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Liverpool are reported to be ready to do battle with West Ham United and Turkish club Fenerbahçe in their pursuit Real Betis defender Aïssa Mandi.

Jürgen Klopp and his scouting team know they will have to plug the hole in the squad left by the outgoing Dejan Lovren. The Croatia international departed for Russian side Zenit St Petersburg last week.

With Lovren gone, Liverpool now have just three senior centre-backs in the squad – Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joël Matip. It may be too much of an ask to expect youngsters like Ki-Jana Hoever or Sepp van den Berg to take on too much playing time with the first-team next season.

According to reports in the Mirror, Liverpool are looking at Real Betis’ Aïssa Mandi as a viable option who could add experience and squad depth to Klopp’s Reds.

Mandi, 28, is an Algeria international having made 55 caps for the African nation. He has been a mainstay in the Real Betis first-team since joining the LaLiga outfit in the summer of 2016.

He can operate as a centre-half or as a right-back and often plays on the right side of a back three for Betis in Spain.

The Mirror’s report claims that Liverpool have already had a £9 million pound offer rejected but Betis have hinted that a bid in the region of £10.8 million could be accepted for Mandi.

The defender is entering the last year of his existing contract at Betis, meaning his value is now lower as he could leave for free next summer.

Liverpool won’t have it all their own way, however. Mandi has also attracted the attention of West Ham and Fenerbahçe.

The article goes on to state that:

Mandi would have to battle Joe Gomez and Joel Matip to be the centre-back partner for Virgil van Dijk, while he may have a better chance of first-team football if he chooses one of his other suitors.

However, his versatility would be a plus at Anfield, as he could provide experienced cover for Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back while Neco Williams continues to develop.

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