Liverpool have added RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate to their list of potential January targets, according to Bundesliga expert Christian Falk.
The Reds’ defence of the Premier League title has come under strain after high-profile injuries. Virgil van Dijk – so crucial in the title-winning campaign – could miss the rest of the campaign.
The Netherlands captain has undergone surgery on the ACL injury picked up against Everton. It is touch and go as to whether he plays again this term while Joe Gomez is also out.
The England stopper has gone under the surgeon’s knife after suffering a knee problem training with England. Gomez’s prognosis is similar to Van Dijk’s and the boss must wait to see if they play again in 2020-2021.
That has, predictably, led the club being linked with a string of possible defensive signings.
The likes of David Alaba, Dayot Upamecano and Kalidou Koulibaly have been mentioned as high-profile targets.
However, Bild journalist Falk claims Liverpool’s main target is slightly more modest in the shape of Konate.
The 21-year-old is highly-regarded by Leipzig and has made 83 appearances for the Bundesliga outfit. Capped 11 times by France U21s, he recently shot to fame after shutting out Kylian Mbappe and Neymar in a Champions League match. That form has led to reported interest from Arsenal.
However, Liverpool are also very much in pursuit, according to Falk.
“Upamecano is at the top of the list of many top clubs and of course that includes Liverpool,” he told Bild.
“Bayern Munich are also an option, but it’s going to be hard to go that way, so they look at other players.
“They do not even look that far, just to the side of Upmecano at his teammate (Konate).
“They (Liverpool) have become aware of the value of his contract, which runs until 2023, and he would be financially affordable for Liverpool.
“He is also very, very interesting in terms of playing style, which is similar, so they could be one of the teams to take him to the island.”
Klopp budget and Konate valuation
As per reports, any deal for Konate is likely to cost around £45m. Leipzig, though, are reported to be opposed to his sale in January.
Klopp is reported to have a budget of £40m to land a defensive recruit. Therefore, he wouldn’t be far away from Konate’s asking price. It is, however, claimed FSG are willing to provide the funds needed to back Klopp.
However, they don’t want to spend over the odds on a signing. FSG know only too well that selling clubs will be well aware of the predicament Liverpool find themselves in.
Kabak is reported to have a €45m release clause in his contract which will become active next summer.