Liverpool are reportedly planning a summer transfer raid on Inter Milan for young defender Alessandro Bastoni as a possible replacement for the potentially exit-bound Dejan Lovren, according to Italian media outlet Passione Inter [via The Boot Room].
However, the Reds could face some stiff competition for his signature, with Passione Inter claiming that Barcelona and Manchester City are also believed to be interested in the 20-year-old.
Why might Liverpool be interested in Alessandro Bastoni?
The young centre-back has forged his way into Antonio Conte’s first XI at the San Siro over the past three months, with 12 Serie A starts to his name this season. He has already been the subject of one sizeable transfer, with Inter signing him from Atalanta for £28m (as per Calciomercato) back in 2017.
Bastoni has averaged 1.6 successful tackles, 2.2 successful headers and 1.1 interceptions per game in 2019/20, illustrating his defensive prowess. He is also quite composed in possession, with an 88.8% success rate from a match average of 59.2 passes, marking him out as a promising centre-back who is sturdy defensively as well as being able to contribute effectively to a possession-based brand of football. [via WhoScored]
Would Bastoni be a good replacement for Lovren at Liverpool and would he get in the Reds’ first team?
Lovren’s time at Anfield could soon be coming to an end, with The Athletic reporter James Pearce claiming on Twitter (@JamesPearceLFC, via @AnfieldEdition) that the Reds would be open to selling him for £15m in the summer. According to the Daily Express, Tottenham and Arsenal are among several clubs showing an interest in the 30-year-old Croatian.
Lovren is far more accomplished in the air than Bastoni, winning 5.1 headers per game, but his match averages of 1.4 successful tackles and 1.1 interceptions are slightly lower than the Italian, who is 10 years his junior. The Inter defender also has a better passing success rate than the Liverpool man (83.4%) and therefore seems capable of filling the void that the Croatia international could leave at Anfield.
Bastoni’s tackling average per game is also better than Lovren’s centre-back team-mates Joel Matip (1.6), Joe Gomez (0.9) and Virgil van Dijk (0.8), although the Cameroon record more interceptions with 1.5 per game. The Italian youngster’s passing success rate comes in at slightly below Van Dijk’s 89.2% but eclipses Gomez’s 88.4% and is well ahead of Matip’s 83.1%.
The 20-year-old has posted figures that are quite comparable to Liverpool’s current centre-back options and, at such a young age, he has plenty of time to hone his trade even more. If Lovren does move on in the summer, the Reds could do far worse than Bastoni when looking at a possible replacement.
Do you think Bastoni would be a worthy transfer target for Liverpool if Lovren departs in the summer? Would the Italian be likely to get into the Reds’ starting XI regularly? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below!