Liverpool have signed defender Ben Davies from Preston in a £1.6m deal.
The Premier League champions, who agreed a transfer fee for Davies on Sunday, are set to send 19-year-old centre-back Sepp van den Berg to Deepdale on loan until the end of the season as part of the deal.
Liverpool have paid £500,000 up front for Davies but Preston could receive add-ons totalling up to £1.1m, while the Championship club will also retain a 20 per cent sell-on clause on the defender.
Schalke defender Ozan Kabak is also closing in on a Deadline Day move to Anfield after the Reds agreed an initial loan deal with an option to buy for the Turkey international.
The 20-year-old has already undergone a medical in Germany and is expected to fly into Merseyside in the next few hours.
Schalke were unwilling to let Kabak leave without a replacement and have moved to secure Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi on a six-month deal.
Davies, 25, is Liverpool’s first signing of the winter transfer window and arrives at Anfield amid the club’s central defensive injury crisis.
Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are long-term injury absentees, while Joel Matip sustained an ankle injury in the 3-1 Premier League win at Tottenham last week – a game Fabinho missed with a minor muscle injury.
Nathaniel Phillips, 23, replaced Matip on Thursday and started alongside Jordan Henderson in the 3-1 win at West Ham on Sunday, while 19-year-old Rhys Williams has also featured for Liverpool this season.
Celtic had reached a pre-contract agreement with Preston in January to sign Davies, who was in the last six months of his contract, in the summer.
Davies made 19 appearances in the Championship this season under Alex Neil, including the 1-0 defeat against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.
He is a product of Preston’s academy and spent loan spells at York City, Tranmere Rovers, Southport, Newport County and Fleetwood Town, prior to breaking into the Lilywhites’ first-team on a regular basis during the 2017/18 season.
Sky Sports EFL pundit Keith Andrews:
“For where Liverpool are now I think it makes absolute sense. You can maybe liken it to something like the Odion Ighalo signing by Manchester United last year.
“It’s a stop-gap to a point, but within that, you’ve got an opportunity as a player to stake a claim. It’s a chance of a lifetime for Ben Davies.
“The only thing I would say is I think there is a snobbery in football that the big clubs don’t look down that far, traditionally. Usually, Davies would have to go to a lower Premier League team and prove himself there, maybe akin to what James Tarkowski has done after his lower-league exploits.
The winter transfer window closes at 11pm on Monday, February 1, and Sky Sports will bring you all the drama as clubs scramble to get the final pieces of business over the line.
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