Liverpool shelled out £25m on the last day of the transfer window on a pair of centre-backs and while French international Mamadou Sakho has started every game since his move from PSG, former Sporting Lisbon youngster Tiago Ilori could be sent out on loan in January with La Liga side Valencia heavily linked with a bid for his services.
The Reds – who are 3/4 to continue their bright start to the campaign with a win at Newcastle – have all their senior centre-halves bar long-term absentee Sebastian Coates back fit, prompting speculation that the youngest of that group could seek first-team action elsewhere in the second half of the season.
The 20-year-old has yet to step out in the red of Liverpool at senior level.
After making 11 appearances in the Primeira Liga for Sporting in the second half of last season, Ilori cannot be enjoying life in the Under-21s at Anfield and despite featuring in Brendan Rodgers’ last two matchday squads the London-born Portuguese youth international has yet to feature in the Premier League.
With the Reds’ early-season defensive injury crisis reversed to the extent that four centre-halves got on the pitch ahead of the youngster against Crystal Palace last time out Ilori may better serve his career by switching to the La Liga club.
Los Che are short at the back now French centre-half Adil Rami has gone off the reservation.
6ft 3in Les Bleus bruiser Rami has not played for the Mediterranean coast club since accusing Valencia manager Miroslav Djukic of being ‘two faced’ last month and it has since been confirmed that he will join AC Milan on loan when the transfer window reopens.
The former Lille man’s absence has left Djukic with little room to manoeuvre at the back with just two senior specialist centre-halves available to him, so Ilori could expect plenty of minutes on the Mestalla pitch as Valencia battle on the domestic front and in the Europa League.
With a potential World Cup place at stake Ilori needs game-time in 2013/14.
Despite not yet making his full international debut the Reds defender – who could still comply with Roy Hodgson’s wishes and declare for England – is highly rated in his home country and has made 28 appearances at underage level.
Portugal only conceded two fewer goals than Azerbaijan in World Cup 2014 qualifying Group F on their way to a second-place finish behind Russia and a move to Valencia would see Ilori line-up alongside Seleccao full-back Joao Perreira, which can only improve his chances of a call up.