Premier League • England

Liverpool ‘open discussions’ to ‘lock down’ elite star and end one club’s hopes of blockbuster signing

Virgil van Dijk, Ibrahima Konate and Luis Diaz of Liverpool

Liverpool stars Virgil van Dijk, Ibrahima Konate and Luis Diaz

Liverpool have begun talks with Ibrahima Konate as they try to tie the defender down to a new contract, according to a report.

Konate spent time in the Paris FC youth setup before joining FC Sochaux’s academy in 2014. He rose through the ranks at Sochaux and went on to make just 13 appearances in their first team before being snapped up by RB Leipzig.

The German club signed Konate on a free transfer and he spent four years there, honing his craft and eventually making a name for himself as one of the best centre-backs in the Bundesliga.

As such, it came as no surprise when top clubs entered talks with Leipzig to sign Konate in the summer of 2021. Ultimately, it was Liverpool who won the race, as they took the Frenchman to Anfield in a £36million deal.

Konate is now an integral player for Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, having played 15 times this season and 68 games overall during his time with the Reds.

Konate has formed a solid centre-back partnership with Liverpool hero Virgil van Dijk. Both players are physically imposing, allowing them to win aerial duels in both boxes, but also agile. Plus, they are comfortable on the ball and can bring it out from the back if required.

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When operating on the right of central defence, Konate uses his pace and strength to cover for right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, whom Klopp is gradually turning into a central midfielder.

According to French outlet Le10 Sport, Liverpool chiefs are ready to reward the 24-year-old for his great form with a bumper new contract.

Liverpool in negotiations over new Ibrahima Konate contract

Liverpool have ‘opened discussions’ with the player and his agent as they try to ‘lock him down’ for the long run. Konate’s current deal runs until June 2026, and it is likely his fresh terms will last until 2027 or 2028.

Konate will also have his wages increased as part of the new contract. He currently earns around £70,000 a week, according to Salary Sport and Spotrac. Given Konate’s importance to Liverpool, it is highly likely his new wage will break the £100k-a-week barrier, and potentially get him close to £150k per week.

The new deal, should it reach completion, will not only reward Konate for his solid displays, but it will also help to keep any potential suitors at bay.

Given Konate was born in Paris, Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain have often been touted as his next destination, should he opt to leave Merseyside.

And the 13-time France international did little to quash rumours of a return to Paris when asked last month about potentially joining PSG in the future.

“To say no would be to lie,” he replied. “PSG has made sure to recruit players who get along well and who play in the French team together.

“And even for the people and the Parisian fans, it makes them happy, it’s what they had been waiting for for years, to have Parisians or at least French players in the team.”

When probed on his French teammates attempting to engineer a move, Konate added: “I am not going to answer this question in relation to what they do!”

But if Liverpool are successful in tying Konate down to a new contract, then PSG will have to wait a while longer before they can capture him.

Meanwhile, TEAMtalk can reveal Liverpool and Manchester United are among several Prem clubs tracking a Real Betis starlet.