Reports claim RB Leipzig are hoping Liverpool’s faltering top-four hopes will prevent them from signing defender Ibrahima Konate this summer.
The Reds have been heavily linked with the 21-year-old as Jurgen Klopp looks for defensive reinforcements. A run of bad luck with the rearguard saw the Anfield outfit’s title defence wilt after the turn of the year. Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip have missed the majority of the season.
In their absence, the champions have looked a shadow of their former selves and sit sixth in the table. They are four points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea and need a late-season rally to qualify for the Champions League.
They are still capable of doing it and the Telegraph are reporting that Leipzig are sweating on the situation.
Journalist Fabrizio Romano – a transfer specialist – claimed earlier in April that Liverpool were close to signing Konate for £30million. However, it has now emerged that a figure of £40m may be required to get a deal over the line.
That might be a touch high for the Merseysiders, especially if they fail to qualify for Europe’s elite club competition. Die Roten Bullen do not want to lose the rangy centre-half.
Tipped as a future superstar of the game, Konate has struggled with injuries this term. The Parisian has made just seven Bundesliga starts among 13 outings after thigh and ankle problems.
But that has not prevented clubs from taking an interest and he remains a coveted player for Europe’s elite.
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Konate an insurance policy for Klopp
Van Dijk and his fellow defenders should be back in action in 2021-2022. But Klopp has seen just what missing his talisman can do to the side when having to play a makeshift defence.
There have been many defenders linked to the club in recent months. Real Betis stopper Aissa Mandi is said to be near the top of their wish-list and his situation appeals.
The 29-year-old Algeria international will leave the Spaniards on a free transfer in the summer. But Barcelona are also thought to hold an interest and that could be a major obstacle to Liverpool’s hopes.
Konate would seem a better option, with age on his side. He is now back in the Leipzig side and a strong end to the campaign will only increase his profile.
Finances will be tight due to the pandemic. And Liverpool might need to lower their expectations if they do fail to make the top four.