Liverpool has completed the transfer of Ozan Kabak from Schalke 04 on loan until the end of the season. He posted one photo of boarding a flight to Liverpool. That means he has the international clearance to land on English soil. Soon he will be unveiled as a Liverpool player. The 20-year-old defender will spend the remainder of 2020-21 with the Reds.
Liverpool finally bolstered their defensive options by signing Ozan Kabak and Preston's Ben Davies before the Premier League transfer window slammed shut on Monday.
The champions are missing all of their senior central defenders, with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, and Joel Matip out of action due to injury. Even though Van Dijk is close to returning in a month or so but they didn’t want to hurry the process.
Fabinho, who had impressed at center-back after moving from his usual midfield position, recently joined the injured list while captain Jordan Henderson, who usually plays in midfield, has been forced to deputize at the back.
The signing of Kabak will definitely give them a breathing space. The Turkey international spent two years in the Bundesliga, where he represented VfB Stuttgart before joining Schalke in July 2019.
Why Reds were eager to have them in their ranks? The future of Pool’s backline or a panic signing?
Who is Kabak?
Prior to moving to Germany, Kabak came through the ranks at Galatasaray. Kabak trained with the Galatasaray youth academy, joining in 2011. He signed his first professional contract with Galatasaray on 1 July 2017. Ozan made his professional debut for Galatasaray in a 2–0 Süper Lig, turkey’s top division; win over Yeni Malatyaspor on 12 May 2018.
Later on, he gained Champions League experience with four appearances in the tournament in 2018-19. Turkey's national team wanted him on their ranks after his impressive defensive stability. For his age, he had monstrous physicality and impressive defensive stability.
Ozan is a youth international for Turkey. He captained the Turkey U17s at the 2017 UEFA European Under-17 Championship. It was again another occasion where Europe got his glance of talent. He was listed as one of the 10 players to watch by UEFA. He was under the watchful eye of top European Club since then.
On the international front, he has earned seven caps for Turkey to date. His debut match on 17th November 2019 in the Turkey senior team during the team's UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying match against Andorra ended in a 2-0 Turkey win.
Move to Big League in Europe
17 January 2019 was a big day for Kabak. At the age of just 18, Kabak moved to Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart where he signed a contract until June 2024. He started his Stuttgart journey with some very impressive performances. He played as a center-back but showed his flexibility by playing the defensive midfield position also. In some matches, he acquired almost all the attacking positions also.
On 3 March, he scored twice in a 5–1 win over Hannover 96, registering his first senior career goals. At the age of 18 years, 11 months, and 7 days, he became the youngest Turkish, youngest center-back, and third-youngest Stuttgart player to ever score twice in a single Bundesliga match. The whole of Turkey rejoiced his success in Europe. It was almost certain he is going to make it big someday. He was a hotshot in Bundesliga.
On 30th June 2019, another Bundesliga club FC Schalke 04 activated his transfer clause at Stuttgart and signed him for a fee of €15 million. It was a big sum for a young defender at Bundesliga. But Schalke was in need of a defender at that time. He was a regular performer in his first season with the club, appearing in 28 matches and scoring three goals.
🔴 Ozan Kabak— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 1, 2021
𝐏𝐫𝐞𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐨𝐭: Right
𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐭: Duels won
🔵 Ben Davies
𝐏𝐫𝐞𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐨𝐭: Left
𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐭: Long passes
It looks like they would form a decent duo. 🤓 pic.twitter.com/nzfGNRnfvh
His life at Schalke was not all smooth. When asked about his beginning of the journey at Schalke by Bundesliga.com; Kabak said,
"Yes, I started this season with some injuries. I was out for around two months, and when I returned to the squad they said they already had two or three good center-backs: Salif [Sane], Benji [Stambouli], and also Mati [Nastasic]. I got my chance last week and I scored. I'm very happy about it. Everything is good for me now. I hope we're going to keep playing like this."
In the same interview, he expressed his thoughts about Virgil Van Dijk, soon to be his teammate.
"My personal aim is to become a top defender in maybe two or three years, like Virgil van Dijk. He's my idol, I really like him."
He was always very vocal about his love for Virgil Van Dijk. It’s going to be a fascinating tale of how a teen of Turkey went on to play with his idol at Liverpool.
"As a footballer? I like his style and how he plays, so I can say he's my football idol."
He is a star for the future. He will have to improve a lot to challenge the spots of Joel Matip or Joe Gomez. He will be used as a backup defender for a season or two by Liverpool for sure. It will depend a lot on how quickly he adapts to Klopp’s style of play. He will have to synchronize with an already well-oiled team. But to his relief, he will get some minutes quickly after his arrival at Liverpool as all the top defenders are out.
He will wear No.19 for Liverpool. We wish him a bright future.