RB Leipzig chief Oliver Mintzlaff admits that his club already face an uphill battle to keep Liverpool target Ibrahima Konate this summer.
The Reds are reportedly eyeing the France Under-21 international up ahead of a transfer swoop. Jurgen Klopp’s men began the campaign with three senior centre-halves, following Dejan Lovren’s departure. But while the manager insisted that he thought that would be enough, the unthinkable has happened.
Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip have all suffered long-term injuries. Indeed, the former pair have not played since October and November, respectively.
As such, the Reds reportedly want to bolster their ranks with Konate’s arrival from the Bundesliga.
Several reports have indicated that the centre-back has a release clause in his contract. Mintzlaff has now confirmed that, admitting that his club are on the back foot over plans to keep him.
“We’ll see what happens. I spoke to him this week. No decision has been made yet,” Leipzig’s global head of soccer told Sky Germany.
“There is an exit clause. That’s why we don’t sit in the driver’s seat. He is a player we want to keep.”
Liverpool have already reportedly made several big advances over signing Konate.
Stephen Warnock: 'Liverpool need to make signings this summer'
Former Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock says the club must sign a centre-back and a striker this summer.
Journalist Fabrizio Romano has claimed that both sides have agreed personal terms over a five-year contract. Therefore, the release clause is the only big obstacle left.
Meanwhile, Konate has also reportedly begun house-hunting in Merseyside in anticipation of the transfer.
While Mintzlaff has confirmed that he wants to keep the player, he has previously said that he wants to trim his squad by letting up to four players go.
Despite two new centre-backs arriving at Leipzig in the summer, it remains unclear who could leave.
Liverpool given Konate transfer warning
According to another report, Liverpool must pay Konate’s release clause in one lump sum.
The Times claims that Leipzg will not have it any other way if they are to let go of the Frenchman.
Indeed, if Liverpool do not comply, they will reportedly pull the plug on the deal altogether. The Reds had hoped to pay the £34million sum in instalments.