Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has absolutely no intentions of selling defender Ibrahima Konate any time soon with the player’s recent confession about a possible move to Paris Saint-Germain not causing panic at Anfield.
The French defender is now into his third season at Anfield, having made 64 appearances across all competitions. And the initial £36m Liverpool paid to RB Leipzig for the centre-half certainly looks money well spent with Konate very much a first-choice pick under Klopp and seen as the future of their defence.
Indeed, his partnership with Virgil van Dijk is very much Klopp’s preferred pairing with the likes of Joe Gomez falling down the order and Joel Matip likely to leave at the end of his contract next summer.
Matip’s likely exit after eight seasons at Anfield means Klopp will be very much in the market for a new centre-half in 2024. Indeed, the Reds boss had planned to address that need for a new defender in the summer, only for Liverpool’s midfield exodus to put those plans on ice. To that end, Liverpool spent the summer rebuilding their engine room instead.
However, signing a new centre-half remains very much on Klopp’s radar in the months ahead, with Wednesday’s Euro Paper Talk revealing talks over a discounted move for Sporting Lisbon’s Goncalo Inacio were very much underway.
As a result, the recent admission from Konate that he is eyeing a future move to PSG will not have gone too well in the corridors of power at Anfield.
“To say no would be to lie,” replied Konate when asked about the possibility of ever signing for PSG.
“PSG has made sure to recruit players who get along well and who play in the French team together.”
No panic at Liverpool over Konate to PSG rumours
Konate continued: “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.”
However, Liverpool FC expert Neil Jones insists there is no panic at Anfield in the wake of Konate’s comments.
And the Anfield oracle, speaking to Caught Offside, is adamant the Reds have no intentions of either letting him leave or listening to offers for the centre-half.
“A lot has been made of Ibrahima Konate’s comments about PSG recently, but from a Liverpool perspective I don’t think there’s much to worry about,” Jones said.
“Konate, of course, has ties to Paris and was never going to say ‘no, I never want to play for my hometown club’. As far as I’m aware, there is no concrete interest from PSG, and Liverpool would not entertain it if there was.
“Konate is very much the future as far as Liverpool’s defence is concerned. With Joel Matip well into his 30s and into the final year of his contract, Konate will be Virgil van Dijk’s partner going forward if he can stay fit. At 24, his best years are still very much ahead of him. He just needs to steer clear of injuries.”
Konate seen as the future of the Liverpool defence
Jones continued: “Let’s be frank: there are not a plethora of top-class centre-backs in world football.
“Liverpool feel they got a good deal when signing Konate for less than £40m in 2021, and looking at the dearth of options out there now, you’d have to say he’s only got more valuable since.”
Indeed, at 24, Konate is the youngest of Liverpool’s senior central defensive options with Jones correct in his claim that his sale at Anfield would make absolutely no sense at all.
You would also have to say that his valuation will only have jumped up significantly too since his arrival in summer 2021. To that end, it would not be outlandish to suggest he could command a fee of £60m-plus in the modern market.
The player will also hope to nail down his place in the France squad ahead of the 2024 European Championships. Konate has won 13 caps in total, with six of that tally coming this calendar year. And he will hope to form a central defensive partnership, possibly alongside another Premier League man in William Saliba, in Germany this summer.