Premier League trio Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton have all been linked with Hellas Verona’s rising Serie A star Marash Kumbulla.
Reported Everton and Liverpool target Marash Kumbulla has been likened to Juventus legend Giorgio Chiellini by the centre-back’s former team-mate Federico Balzaretti, speaking to Goal.
A veteran of 103 caps and eight Serie A titles, Chiellini is one of the most decorated defenders of the last 15 years with his uncompromising style and formidable ability to lead by example helping to transform Juve into the dominant force of Italian football.
Kumbulla, 15 years Chiellini’s junior, is just starting out by contrast. But a man who has shot to fame with some truly outstanding performances at the heart of a newly-promoted Hellas Verona side is already being compared to one of the best of his generation.
And Balzarreti’s comments should perhaps explain why 20-year-old Kumbulla is a man in such high demand.
“In the last few years, defenders are formed who are good at building the play but have problems in the defensive phase. Kumbulla, on the other hand, is a ‘defender’ defender, the first thing he thinks of is defending his goal and not conceding,” said the former Juventus and Italy left-back.
“Kumbulla reminds me a little of a young Giorgio Chiellini.”
It is no secret that Liverpool are scouring the market for a man capable of succeeding Dejan Lovren at Anfield while Spurs are facing up to the prospect of losing long-serving Belgian Jan Vertonghen when his contract expires in July.
Everton, meanwhile, failed to reinforce their paper-thin backline last summer after both Phil Jagielka and Kurt Zouma headed out the door.