Greek golden boy Kyriakos Papadopoulos a target for Liverpool
Premier League top four chances Liverpool (5/2) are leading the chase to sign young Greek defensive star Kyriakos Papadopoulos at the end of the season for as little as £4.4m, according to news reports.
The passionate 23-year-old is currently on loan at Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen, from Roberto Di Matteo’s Schalke, but is said to be wanting a move abroad, and Reds scouts have been tracking him over the last two years.
They must have found it tough to find a match that Papadopoulos was fit for, though, as the centre back has suffered with long-term injuries to his knee and shoulder, forcing him to miss out on the 2014 World Cup too. In the last three seasons, he has managed to feature in just 38 games.
However, on the rare occasions the former wonderkid has been fully fit, he always gets picked and highly impresses, either in defence or in a holding midfield role.
Papadopoulos missed much of the first half of the season, again due to injury, but has featured in seven of the last eight top-flight fixtures for Leverkusen, playing the full 90 minutes three times.
He also managed to start in the 1-0 first leg home victory over Atletico Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League at centre back, and came on as a sub as a defensive midfielder in their reverse tie 4-2 loss. The youngster netted against Zenit St Petersburg in the group stage of the competition as well.
So, Brendan Rodgers must have a lot of faith in Papadopoulos despite his injury issues and, if the player does get signed, he will have to compete with Martin Skrtel, Dejan Lovren, Mamadou Sakho, Kolo Toure, Tiago Ilori and Sebastian Coates at the back.
He could also be snapped up for cover in defensive midfield, as Steven Gerrard is on his way to LA Galaxy and Lucas Leiva continues to be linked away.
Other Premier League sides, north London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham, are also said to be chasing Papadopoulos.
He has made 16 senior Greece (2/1 chances for victory) appearances to date (four goals), and has been called up for his nation’s upcoming Euro 2016 qualifier with Hungary, where he could earn his first cap since 2012.