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Liverpool’s search for a new centre-back in the summer was no hidden secret. The Reds went all out in their pursuit of Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk but when it became clear that the Dutchman will not be sold by the Saints, they turned their attention towards German centre-half Benedikt Howedes towards the end of the transfer window. (Liverpool Echo)
The player himself was keen on a move away, having lost his captaincy at his boyhood club over the summer. Back in August, he said (as quoted by Echo):
“I’ve said I won’t move within [Germany] and can picture a move abroad. As of today, that point in time hasn’t come.
“I received offers from other clubs after the surprising demotion from captain… that my agent checked and answered.”
So, it all seemed like Liverpool had found the right alternative for their defensive troubles, especially considering the amount of experience the German international had behind him. The 29-year old had made 335 appearances for the club where he spent over 16 years and had won a German Cup and the German Super Cup as well. He has also racked up 44 appearances for the German national team and was a part of the German team that won the FIFA World Cup in 2014 in Brazil.
Add to that, the fact that the €18m man had played alongside Liverpool’s first-choice defender Joel Matip for a prolonged period at Schalke, it meant that Liverpool could have had a tried and tested centre-back pairing, which they could have definitely used, considering how porous their defence has looked this season so far.
However, the Merseysiders were dealt a blow when Italian champions Juventus swooped in to sign Howedes from the Gelsenkirchen-based outfit on a season-long loan deal.
Fans might have been left disappointed by the fact that they missed out on the 29-year old in the summer, but they will be relieved that the club missed out on signing the player, having seen how things have panned out for the German since his move to Turin.
Howedes has endured a torrid time with Juventus. A series of injuries on a trot has meant that he hasn’t been able to make an appearance for his new side until the last week of November, where he started and played for 68 minutes in the 3-0 win over Crotone. However, that was as good as it got for the German international as according to latest reports, Howedes has been ruled out until the new year with another thigh injury. This piles on the frustrating start to life that the 29-year old has had with the Old Lady.
Liverpool have had a poor defensive record this term, with the likes of Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan not impressing a whole lot and they could have definitely used a centre-back of Howedes’ quality and experience in their ranks. But judging by how things have turned out for the German with his injuries in Italy, the Reds would be thinking that they surely a dodged a bullet with that one.
The supporters might have been left disappointed with the club’s failure to land their target, but surely they will be thinking that it turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the club.