With the sale of Martin Skrtel to Turkish club Fenerbahce, Jurgen Klopp wasted no time at all, in bringing in a replacement. The man given the task of replacing Skrtel, is central defender, Ragnar Klavan. Liverpool have signed the player on a long-term contract, from German Bundesliga club, FC Augsburg.
Klavan is an Estonian international, who comes with huge experience and has played over 100 times for his country. Having started his career in his home country, Klavan spent time at Norwegian club Valarenga, on loan before signing permanently for Dutch club, Heracles. Following a loan spell at AZ Alkmaar, the move was made permanent and Klavan stayed with AZ for three years, before being transferred to FC Augsburg in 2012, on a two-year deal. He became a regular starter for Augsburg and remained part of the team until this summer, when Liverpool moved in to sign the defender for around £4 million.
Although the signing will have caught many Liverpool fans off-guard, Klavan is a player who should be familiar, having featured for Augsburg in the Europa League last season. He helped the German club keep a clean sheet at home against Liverpool in the Round of 32 before going on to concede a single goal in the return leg, at Anfield.
At 30 years of age, Klavan is obviously not a player who has been brought in with the future in mind. Klopp has brought him in, knowing his best years as a central defender are going to be now and his huge experience, could prove to be vital during the course of the season. That being said, Klavan is not the sort of signing Liverpool fans are hoping for and if you asked them at the start of the summer, which players would you like to realistically bring to the club, Klavan would not have been on the list.
However, with Skrtel clearly past his best, it was time to move the Slovakian on and a replacement was required. Standing at just over 6ft, Klavan is a powerful defender, who is good in the air and joined Joel Matip, Liverpool’s other new defensive signing, as the player who made the most blocks in the Bundesliga last season. Klavan’s passing record in the Bundesliga last season was superior to both Dejan Lovren and Kolo Toure, plus he is left footed, which will add some balance to the central defensive area, in the absence of Mamadou Sakho, especially in terms of playing the ball out from the back.
Klavan is also reliable and picked up just two yellow cards last season and on average, made less than one foul per game, which is an excellent record for a central defender. These statistics, suggest a defender who knows how to time a tackle and is capable of making good decisions, when under pressure.
Although the signing of Ragnar Klavan is not one which is going to sell shirts, it is one which represents great value. Klopp knows Klavan well from his time in the Bundesliga and he will give the Liverpool boss an additional option in defence. With Sakho likely to miss the start of the season, Klavan could have an opportunity to cement his place in the first team, with some good early performances.