Liverpool set to move for title-winning captain, who has caused controversy this season: report

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp during a press conference ahead of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 match against Real Madrid at Anfield on February 20, 2023 in Liverpool, England.
(Image credit: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Liverpool are being linked with a midfielder who has won a league title this season.

The Reds waved goodbye to four players at Anfield at the weekend after drawing with Aston Villa, as Roberto Firmino capped off his swansong in front of the Kop with a late equaliser. But aside from the forward chipping in with a goal, three midfielders said their farewells to the crowd. 

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and James Milner are all leaving, with Jurgen Klopp looking to bring in fresh talent in the centre of the park. 

Liverpool star James Milner during the Premier League match between Fulham FC and Liverpool FC at Craven Cottage on August 06, 2022 in London, England.

Liverpool star James Milner is one of several midfielders leaving this summer (Image credit: Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Liverpool are interested in Orkun Kokcu, according to Football Fancast, with the Turkish star having just skippered Feyenoord to a first title since 2017.

Kokcu has been a huge presence in the centre for coach Arne Slot, leading the side to a Europa Conference League final last season before going from strength to strength this term. 

But the 22-year-old has received criticism in the past, following a controversial decision not to wear a rainbow armband this season in favour of LGBTQ+ inclusion.

“I stay close to my religion,” Kokcu told ESPN of his decision to refuse the gesture. “But I also understand the reactions from the outside on the one hand.”

Liverpool have a commitment to inclusion, with captain Jordan Henderson and manager Jurgen Klopp both being praised in the past for their allyship to the LGBTQ+ community. Though Kokcu chose not to wear the armband, however, he has voiced that his choice was “purely personal”.

Orkun Kokcu of Feyenoord celebrating scoring his sides third goal during the Dutch Eredivisie match between PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord at Phillips Stadion on September 18, 2022 in Eindhoven, Netherlands

Orkun Kokcu of Feyenoord is linked with Liverpool (Image credit: Broer van den Boom/Orange Pictures/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

The Turkish midfielder is also thought to be of interest to Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United.

Kokcu is valued at €30 million by Transfermarkt

More Liverpool stories

Liverpool's failed pursuit of Jude Bellingham has led to discussion over who is to blame, with This Is Anfield writing that the fault lies with both Jurgen Klopp and ownership FSG for FourFourTwo.

The Reds are looking at a number of possible alternatives, including Ryan Gravenberch of Bayern MunichInter Milan star Nicolo BarellaBrighton midfielder Moises Caidedo and Chelsea fringe midfielder Conor Gallagher. Ex-Red Jose Enrique has questioned whether the Merseysiders even needed Bellingham, anyway.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Mark White
Staff Writer

Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.