Trio of Premier League giants tipped to battle for Omer Toprak
Bayer Leverkusen centre back Omer Toprak could be the latest star to feature in a January transfer tug-of-war, this time between struggling Premier League giants Liverpool, Manchester United (25/1 to win the Premier League) and Tottenham.
Turkey international Toprak, still only 25, reportedly found himself the centre of attention in Leverkusen’s Champions League clash against Zenit St Petersburg, with representatives from the top trio all said to be observing him.
Toprak is one of the Bundesliga’s most highly-rated defenders, growing in stature and influence as his side secured a top four league finish last term. The ever-present two-footed enforcer has made 13 appearances in all competitions this campaign, and would be the perfect antidote for the Red Devils’ injury-stricken backline.
Born in West Germany but of Turkish heritage, tenacious Toprak has 23 caps for The Comeback Kings, and is known for his pace, reliability and composure.
The Reds, United and Spurs could certainly use a touch more authority and calm leadership in their porous backlines, with the three clubs leaking a combined 38 Premier League goals between them so far this season.
As they attempt to clamber up the table in the race for Champions League football, the three sides are all expected to dip their toes into the winter window to reinforce their rusty rearguards, making competition for top targets fierce.
Toprak’s apparent Premier League admirers may have to wait a little longer than that to compete to capture their man, however, as Leverkusen have the sturdy, 6ft 1in centre half tied to a long-term contract.
The former Freiburg defender’s deal does not expire until 2018, so mooted fees of around £12m are surely wide of the mark. Louis van Gaal and co will likely have to fork out a substantial fee if they are to convince the Bundesliga outfit to part with their prized asset in the midst of a Champions League campaign.
Seemingly keen on a new challenge, Toprak has spent six seasons plying his trade in Germany’s top-flight plus another in the second tier, and now appears keen to seek pastures new in the Premier League.
Reports suggest the sought-after defender may still not be given the green light for a switch until summer though, leaving Liverpool, United and Spurs (5/4 for a top six finish) in the lurch.