Liverpool make big defender decision, as Prem rivals register interest in Kabak

Joelinton tussling with Ozan Kabak, Liverpool v Newcastle

Ozan Kabak could remain in the Premier League next season, but not with Liverpool, claims a report.

The Independent  suggest that Liverpool loanee Kabak is a target for Leicester City. Despite a solid enough loan spell from Kabak at Anfield, and Jurgen Klopp is understood to have “appreciated the youngster’s efforts”, he will not be kept on. The 21-year-old is available for £18m for Schalke and the defender is keen to stay.

Kabak told The Times (via Liverpool Echo): “It’s Liverpool. Of course I want to stay. 

“These five months have been very valuable for my career, my personality. I have met with very good people, very good footballers.”

However, the report claims “Kabak’s loan deal will not be made permanent despite the Turkey international performing admirably under taxing circumstances”

He was only ever a stop-gap signing, alongside Ben Davies in January. And, per the report, a late move for the Turkey international only arose after Marseille refused to sell Duje Caleta-Car.

Kabak is understood to have enjoyed his time on Merseyside and knows his development will continue to flourish in the Premier League. And “Leicester City are among the clubs interested in recruiting Kabak”, as per the source.

They are looking for defensive cover after the retirement of 37-year-old Wes Morgan.

Meanwhile, the departure of Kabak will mean Klopp is still in need of another centre-back. And that man is widely believed to be Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig.

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Konate’s Liverpool deal edging closer

Konate has a release clause €40m (£34.7m) and Liverpool are on the verge of activating that. Fabrizio Romano reported recently in his Benchwarmers column that “it seems only a matter of time” before Konate becomes a Red.

And now Liverpool’s qualification for the Champions League has enabled them to push on with plans to secure their primary target.

Melissa Reddy from The Independent says talks with the player’s agent, Jonathan Barnett have taken place. And a deal in principle is believed to have been struck. But now the guaranteed income from UEFA in 2021/22 means Michael Edwards can make a down payment to secure the €40m deal for the 22-year-old.

Konate is currently on international duty for France’s Under-21 side. He will be hoping to line-up in Les Bleus’ European Championship quarter-final clash with Holland on Monday evening.

However, Konate, who is under contract until 2023, has only played once in France’s three group games – the 2-0 win over Russia.

READ MORE: Michael Edwards ready to offload 12 as Liverpool clear path for sparkling young duo