Liverpool landed Ozan Kabak in a deadline day deal – with the help of former defender Philipp Degen.
Degen’s role in the move has been praised by Schalke boss Christian Gross, who gave insight into the fascinating game of cat and mouse which allowed them complete an even bigger deal. Degen.
He has revealed that Kabak was used as bait to free up the German club to land Shkodran Mustafi from Arsenal to bolster their struggling defence.
Degen, who played for Liverpool between 2008 and 2011 and had a season-long loan at Schalke, called Jurgen Klopp, knowing his former club needed a defender.
Also aware that Schalke wanted to free-up funds for Mustafi, he alerted the Reds to the possibility of landing the Turkish youngster who they have admired for some time.
That enabled him to then strike a deal to send ex-Arsenal defender Mustafi to the German club once the Reds agreed to pay a £1million loan fee with a further £500,000 in add-ons.
“He (Degen) is super networked in football,” Gross explained to Blick.
“Without him, Mustafi would not have come to us. He came because Philipp called Jürgen Klopp. Because Philipp knew that Liverpool were looking for a central defender.
“And he asked whether Liverpool was interested in Ozan Kabak – so Philipp knew that Schalke could possibly give Kabak to Liverpool – and he could bring Mustafi to Schalke.
“In any case, the changes from Kabak and Mustafi came about thanks to the efforts of Philipp Degen. But we are completely independent of each other financially.”
The deal worked out well for both parties, with Liverpool also negotiating an option to make the Kabak deal permanent in the summer for £18million if they choose.
Kabak could make his debut for Liverpool against Leicester on Saturday after Klopp confirmed Fabinho will be ruled out with a minor injury.
Klopp told his pre-match press conference: “Fab will not be available. He suffered again a little muscle issue, so will be out for this game.”
Will Ozan Kabak be a hit at Liverpool? Have your say in the comments.
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