Liverpool are reportedly ‘close to finalising’ a huge transfer agreement that will see RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate move to Anfield this summer.
That is according to realiable source David Ornstein, with The Athletic journalist rarely wrong when it comes to transfer matters. Konate, 21, has been attracting a great deal of attention this season despite an injury-ravaged campaign. The rangy centre-back has made only nine Bundesliga appearances and 15 in all competitions.
Hip and ankle problems have held him back but he is in demand, with several Premier League clubs linked. Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United have all been mentioned in connection with the France Under-21 ace.
However, Ornstein reports that it is Liverpool who are close to winning the race. As per Ornstein, sporting director Michael Edwards is “in the process of finalising a deal” to sign Konate.
Ornstein claims that “the situation is already said to be at an advanced stage”. And if no hiccups arise the defender is expected to be a Red prior to this summer’s European Championships.
The Reds, of course, signed Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak during the January window. However, after injuries to a number of key men, signing another centre-half was always in their thinking.
And it seems that Konate will be that man with reports recently claiming he will leave Leipzig for a fee of £34m.
Prices in the region of £45m had been quoted but it appears as though less might get the deal done. Konate joined Leipzig in the summer of 2017 from French club Sochaux.
His most productive season came in 2018-2019, when he made 43 appearances in all competitions. A lack of action this term does not seem to have put off potential suitors.
Konate a big Klopp fan
One factor that could give Liverpool the edge is manager Jurgen Klopp. Konate is said to be eager to work under the German tactician.
If things work out, he could be seen as a long-term partner for Virgil van Dijk at the heart of defence.
That will of course place long-term question marks over Kabak’s chances of a permanent move.
Kabak, 20, joined the Reds on loan from Schalke in the January transfer window. The Turk was brought in to bolster defensive options following season-ending injuries to Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.
But he endured a shaky start to life at Anfield, clearly requiring time to get used to a new system.
While he’s since formed a decent partnership alongside Nat Phillips, the signing of Konate would suggest Kabak’s stay won’t become permanent.
Having paid just £1million to loan him from Germany, the would have to pay another £18million to make it permanent.
And with Phillips adding to Konate, Van Dijk, Gomez and Matip, it seems the Turk will be the one to make way.