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Liverpool 'at risk' of losing out to Bayer Leverkusen for 27-year-old defender

Liverpool fall behind Alonso's Leverkusen in race for 27-year-old defender?
© Reuters
Liverpool fall behind Bayer Leverkusen in the race to sign a 27-year-old defender this summer, according to a report.

Liverpool have seemingly fallen behind Bayer Leverkusen in the race to sign a 27-year-old defender this summer.

The Reds could have another busy summer ahead of them as they begin a new era under head coach Arne Slot, following the departure of Jurgen Klopp.

It has already been confirmed by Liverpool that midfielder Thiago Alcantara and centre-back Joel Matip will be leaving the club when their contracts expire at the end of this month.

The addition of a new midfielder and central defender is now believed to be high on the agenda for the Reds and they have subsequently been linked with several players in recent weeks.

A recent report claimed that Liverpool have added Stuttgart defender Waldemar Anton to their summer shortlist and have signalled their interest by 'requesting transfer information'.

VfB Stuttgart's Waldemar Anton  on June 5, 2024© Reuters

Leverkusen pushing to sign Liverpool-linked Anton

However, according to Sky Deutschland reporter Florian Plettenberg, Bundesliga champions Leverkusen are 'pushing hard to sign' Anton.

Plettenberg claims that Leverkusen head coach Xabi Alonso has called up Anton at least twice to discuss a proposed move to the BayArena.

Leverkusen are said to be prepared to offer Anton a contract until 2028, although no verbal agreement has yet been reached.

Borussia Dortmund are also believed to be interested in Anton as they search the market for a successor to Mats Hummels, who is leaving the club upon the expiration of his contract on June 30.

VfB Stuttgart's Waldemar Anton celebrates scoring their first goal on February 6, 2024© Reuters

Anton can leave Stuttgart if any interested suitors activate his release clause worth between €20m (£16.9m) and €25m (£21.1m), but the centre-back is currently focused on representing Germany at Euro 2024 and will make a decision on his future after the tournament.

Stuttgart captain Anton earned his first senior international cap in March and has since watched on as an unused substitute in Germany's opening two Group A victories over Scotland and Hungary at Euro 2024.

The Uzbekistan-born defender was a mainstay in the Stuttgart side that finished second in the Bundesliga last season and secured Champions League football for 2024-25, starting 32 of the club's 34 league matches.

Anton has never played in European competition before, having only moved to Stuttgart from second-tier side Hannover in 2020.

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Liverpool's Joel Matip reacts in February 2023
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