Ozan Kabak Liverpool transfer set up by phone call from Rafa Benitez flop


Ozan Kabak moved from Schalke to Liverpool on transfer deadline day

Former Liverpool defender Philip Degen has emerged as the surprise key behind the Reds' deadline day swoop for Ozan Kabak.

The Premier League champions have paid Schalke a £1million loan fee - plus a potential £500,000 depending on appearances - to take centre-back Kabak until the end of the season, with an option to make the deal permanent in the summer for £18m.

Cash-strapped Schalke had targeted a move for Arsenal centre-back Shkodran Mustafi but were short of funds.

That prompted Degen, now a player agent, to contact Reds boss Jurgen Klopp over the possibility of signing Kabak to raise the sufficient money to capture Mustafi.

And Schalke boss Christian Gross has explained the role of Degen, who made just 13 appearances during an underwhelming stay at Liverpool between 2008 and 2011, in the transfer jigsaw.

"He is super networked in football," said Gross. "Without him, Mustafi would not have come to us.

"He came because Philipp called Jurgen because he knew that Liverpool were looking for a central defender.

"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.

"And Schalke is financially not a bed of roses.

"In any case, the changes from Kabak and Mustafi came about thanks to the efforts of Philipp Degen. But we are completely independent from each other financially."

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