Premier League • England

Next Liverpool midfield signing greenlighted by Klopp ally who’s ‘really surprised’ by what he’s seen

Kingsley Coman and Khephren Thuram

Kingsley Coman and Khephren Thuram in training with France

Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konate has given his full backing to the club in their pursuit of Khephren Thuram to be their next midfield signing.

Thuram’s representatives have reportedly received contact from Liverpool regarding their interest in a summer transfer. After adding Alexis Mac Allister to their midfield from Brighton, the Reds have identified Thuram as their next key target in similar territory.

The 22-year-old has been building up his reputation in Ligue 1 with Nice. He also earned his senior debut for the France national team earlier this year.

Liverpool need extra reinforcements in midfield after releasing James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Thuram is one of the names that is persisting on their shortlist as it narrows down.

Someone who would welcome his arrival at Anfield is Konate, who has been aware of Thuram’s potential while coming through the French system with his older brother, Marcus.

Konate told RMC Sport: “Khephren, he’s like a younger brother, he’s someone I saw grow,” before adding, “I was with his older brother at academy level.

“I saw him perform well and progress greatly… it was incredible.

“Even when he came to join the French national team for his first cap, I saw him in training and I was really surprised by his height and his technical ability.”

READ MOREKlopp stunned as Liverpool discover Aston Villa competition for next midfield signing after asking price reveal

Therefore, Konate would be glad for Thuram to become his teammate at club level too.

The centre-back confirmed he would be “very happy to see him join Liverpool. I would take him under my wing and I will do everything to help him progress.”

Konate concluded: “Now it’s his turn to work. But I’ll do everything for him to become a top player.”

Konate keen for Liverpool to evolve squad

Elsewhere in his conversation on RMC Sport, Konate reacted to the arrival of Mac Allister and departures of Milner, Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain by praising Liverpool for evolving their squad.

Konate said: “We have to replace them. If not, what do we do? Do we play with an understaffed squad lacking in quality?

“You can’t rely on youth at this level. I’m sure the boss and the recruitment team know we need new players.”

For his part, Konate is set to embark on a third season at Liverpool, hoping to amass more gametime than he has in his first two.

Although he still only has 53 appearances for Liverpool to his name, Konate retains the trust of his manager Jurgen Klopp, who could find the Frenchman to be very useful in another way as and when it comes to convincing Thuram to come on board.