While the Guardian’s Merseyside sports reporter Andy Hunter has claimed we are close to recalling 22-year-old Portuguese centre back Tiago Ilori from Aston Villa in a bid to solve our defensive injury crisis, other UK news outlets have picked up a story on Italian website TuttoMercato which claims we’re close to agreeing a deal for out-of-favour Inter Milan centre back Andrea Ranocchia.
The 27-year-old Ranocchia has only started once for Inter in this season’s Serie A (in their 1-0 win away at Bologna in late October), but has come on as a substitute nine times. Football statistics website WhoScored.com report that he’s only played a total of 210 minutes, and they’ve awarded him an average rating of 6.27.
Ranocchia started his career at lowly Serie C side Arezzo in 2006. He sealed a move to Genoa in 2008, spent two years on loan at Bari, then signed for Inter in a €12.7 million deal in December 2010.
He was appointed Inter captain ahead of the 2014/15 season after Javier Zanetti retired, and he went to start 32 league games during the campaign. However, despite being capped 20 times by Italy, he has fallen out of favour with boss Roberto Mancini this season, with TuttoMercato now claiming the transfer will happen as soon as the two clubs can agree a fee.
In many respects he is a typical Italian defender – good on the ball, strong in the air, and powerful in the tackle. At a lofty 196cm (6 foot 5 inches), he is also considerably taller than any of our other defenders, and his potential acquisition could put an end to our set-piece frailties.
All that said, TuttoMercato are historically somewhat hit-and-miss with their transfer reports, and at the moment the story has not been independently verified by any of the more reliable Italian football media.
They actually ran a story in mid-October that said La Gazzetta dello Sport had reported Klopp wanted the player this January; it was claimed our boss was a big admirer of Ranocchia whilst in charge of Dortmund. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any reference to this story on La Gazzetta’s website.
Do you think the deal should happen? Would it make sense or would you prefer to give Ilori a chance? Let us know in the comments below.