Liverpool transfer blow as Reds told scouted target is unavailable

Liverpool have been dealt a blow in the transfer market after being told Ozan Kabak is not for sale.

The Reds have been scouting the Schalke defender over the past year and have watched him on several occasions.

Jurgen Klopp is keen on adding another centre-back to his ranks after allowing Dejan Lovren leave the club earlier this summer.

But Schalke's head of sport Jochen Schneider has made it clear the 20-year-old Kabak is unavailable.

"Last year, we managed to sign Ozan, who is one of the biggest talents in Europe at his position, and we are extremely happy about that," said Schneider at a press conference.

"Ozan is a great player and a wonderful person. We are delighted that he is with us. Our fans can be reassured that Ozan will not leave."

Schalke snapped up Kabak from Stuttgart last summer following their Bundesliga rivals' relegation.

Kabak had only been with Stuttgart for six months but Schalke moved quickly to activate his release clause and land him in a €15m (£13.8m) deal.

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Liverpool got their title defence off to a shaky start as they edged out a seven-goal thriller against Leeds.

The Reds remain keen on Bayern Munich's Thiago Alcantara, but Georginio Wijnaldum continues to be linked with Barcelona.

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Lazio, Leicester and Tottenham were also interested in Kabak's services but Schalke were under no pressure to sell given he still had another four years remaining on his contract.

Kabak is considered a bright prospect for the future but is already highly thought of at Schalke.

He made 28 appearances for the club last season and also earned his first international call-up for Turkey.

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It was in his homeland where he started his career with Galatasaray and he counts captaining Turkey's under-17 side among his CV.

Meanwhile Liverpool are reportedly in talks with another Turkish side, Fenerbahce, over the possible transfer of Divock Origi.

Fenerbahce want the striker on loan, but according to reports in Turkey Liverpool are demanding an obligation-to-buy clause is included in any agreement to sell Origi permanently at the end of the loan spell.

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