Everything you need to know about Liverpool target Maxence Lacroix

Wolfsburg's French centre-half is the latest name to feature in the transfer rumour merry-go-round, as Leo Rutherford takes a look at why Lacroix is reportedly of high interest at Anfield.

VfB Stuttgart v VfL Wolfsburg - Bundesliga
VfB Stuttgart v VfL Wolfsburg - Bundesliga / Alexander Hassenstein/GettyImages

Joel Matip's ACL tear could not have came at a less ideal time for a Liverpool side who are about to embark in their busiest period of the season, about to face crunch clashes with Arsenal and Manchester United as well as a huge cup quarter final in the space of a week.

Following Liverpool's 2-0 victory over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane, Jurgen Klopp delivered the crushing news that the Cameroonian's season was over, and, given that his contract is set to expire in June, we may have seen the last of the formidable defender in a Liverpool shirt.

Naturally, speculation surrounding the Reds potentially searching for an immediate replacement in January has been more than prevalent since midweek, and the highly-rated Bundesliga defender Maxence Lacroix has been tipped for an Anfield switch.

The 23-year-old has spent the last three seasons at Die Wölfe - featuring as a mainstay in Niko Kovac's Wolfsburg who currently sit 11th in the Bundesliga.

Interestingly, the young Frenchman learned his trade as a product of the Sochaux academy in France, just like Ibrahima Konate who became a breakout star at the Ligue 2 outfit which earned himself a move to RB Leipzig.

Given that sporting director Jorg Schmadtke spent five years at Lacroix's club, and was instrumental in acquiring the young defender from overseas back in 2020, the stars seem to be aligned for this to be a plausible move for Liverpool to make.

Schmadtke has visited his former home on several occasions since he left his post at the beginning of the year, holding a reportedly-keen eye on Lacroix's development in an admittedly difficult season for Wolfsburg.

Significantly, the shortlisted man in question possesses a considerable amount of recovery pace, registered over 2,500 minutes of football in two of the last three Bundesliga campaigns, and is also highly skilled at defending in wide areas.

In the top seven world leagues, Lacroix ranks in the 83rd percentile for clearances, 77th for successful take-ons, 76th for progressive passes and the 75th for aerial duels won; Lacroix seems to possesses tremendous tools for Klopp to work with.

When you dive a little deeper, this has all the blueprints of a Klopp-era Liverpool signing written all over it...

Lacroix has just less than 18 months remaining on his Wolfsburg contract, and has seen his stock plummet to some extent in recent times due to his side's failings on and off the pitch.

In truth, this seems like an FSG blueprint signing due to the age and reported price figure (£20m), and is freakishly similiar to the Ryan Gravenberch rumours; the Dutch midfielder had been on Liverpool's radar for a number of years yet the Reds didn't bite the bullet for his signature until he became out of favour at Bayern Munich.

In Tuesday's DFB Pokal fixture away at Borussia Monchengladbach which Schmadtke was spotted at, the said-to-be Liverpool bound defender recorded 133 touches, 88% pass accuracy, won two out of his three tackles, made six clearances and recoveries, and won six out of his nine duels

Whether or not Maxence Lacroix arrives at the doors of the AXA Training Centre in January remains to be seen, but Liverpool will certainly need a swift answer to their lack of centre back options if they are to sutain challenges on four fronts this season.