Liverpool have been chasing Southampton’s Virgil Van Dijk for the last six or so months, this is no secret.
At the start of this month, people on Twitter claimed the deal was done and Liverpool were happy to pay the £60 million Southampton demanded for their player.
As the saga dragged on, Southampton threw a spanner in to the transfer saga by reporting Liverpool to the FA for tapping up Van Dijk. This caused Liverpool to put a halt to their plans to sign the Dutch defender.
This, as you would expect caused uproar on social media and some fans started to call for the club owners to leave the club even more so than they did before.
While some fans are still holding on to the hope that Liverpool will sign Van Dijk, I would like to see Liverpool try and sign Ezequiel Garay of Valencia instead.
At 30, Garay is five years older than Van Dijk, yet he has more top level experience than the 25 year old Dutch defender.
Having started his career in Argentina, Garay was snapped up by Spanish team Racing Santander in the summer of 2005.
He spent two years at the Campos de Sport de El Sardinero before he was snapped up by Real Madrid.
From Madrid he moved to Benfica, to Zenit St Petersburg and now is back in La Liga playing with Valencia.
Garay has been a regular in the Argentinian national team since 2007.
He played in all of Argentina’s games at the 2014 World Cup and scored the winning penalty against the Netherlands which put Argentina through to the World Cup final after they had drawn 0-0.
At 6’2, Garay provides height at the back, something Liverpool have lacked up until the signing of Joël Matip last season. While Garay does not have any Premier League experience, he would slot in to the Liverpool team as Matip did last season.
Like Matip, he’s not afraid to play the ball out from the back, something Klopp expects his centre backs to do.
With Liverpool fans getting sick of the constant mistakes of Dejan Lovren at the back, I believe that Garay could provide the stability at the back, Liverpool sorely miss.
Last season for Valencia, Garay played 27 games in La Liga, he won 27 tackles, with a success rate of 44%, he made 137 clearances, 62 interceptions and 14 blocks.
He created four chances and scored four goals and being 6’2 he will always be a danger from corners and free kicks.
He made on average 8 defensive actions per game, has a shot accuracy of 80%, has a pass accuracy of 80% and won on average 53% of his duels.
He would also provide value for money and would be a major help to those young Liverpool players who are looking to make the break through from the U-23’s to the first team.
Having Garay in the squad will help the likes of Joe Gomez learn his craft without having the pressure that comes with being the next big player for Liverpool.
Having signed for Valencia last season for a fee of €35 million from Zenit, I would think a bid of between €45-€50 million would be enough to entice Valencia to do business with Liverpool.
Having a back pairing of Garay and Matip would help Liverpool strengthen when it comes to defending set pieces, something they have struggled with since Rafa Benitez left the club.
It would also allow Jürgen Klopp to concentrate on bringing in a new left back, something Liverpool need to do if they are to challenge on any front next season.