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Liverpool linked with Emre Can as they look to shore up defense

May 18, 2014, 6:09 PM EDT

Can AP

Liverpool have made some shrewd overseas transfers the last few summers, and they look to pull another one off as reports have them on the verge of pulling the trigger on a $17 million move for young Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Emre Can.

The 20-year-old made 24 Bundesliga appearances for Bayer at both left-back and defensive midfield, and while he isn’t strong going forward, he would be sure to help Liverpool improve their defensive record.

The Reds conceded 50 goals this Premier League season, just seventh in the league despite their second-place finish.

Brendan Rodgers will look to improve upon that record with plenty more fixtures on the horizon next season thanks to their Champions League berth.  Rodgers reportedly has a good relationship with Can’s agent, the same man who represented Nuri Sahin and Samed Yesil during their deals to Liverpool.

Bayer faded down the stretch of the Bundesliga season, but were second for a long while and still finished in fourth with just 41 league goals allowed.

At 6’2″, the Bayern Munich youth product is a beast in the air, and also completed 68% of take-ons in the Bundesliga this year. However, the youngster needs to improve on his passing, with just a 78% success rate this past season, according to Squawka statistics.  If he could do that, he would delight those who compare him to the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger.

The Reds are ready to make a splash somewhere next year, but will need to get deeper if they wish to seriously challenge for either the Premier League or Champions League title.

Rodgers has been linked heavily with a number of Bundesliga stars, including Bayern Munich’s Javi Martinez and Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan.  They have also recently been connected to wantaway Manchester City defender Micah Richards.

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