Liverpool lead centre-back race as lower price emerges for Bundesliga star

Date published: Sunday 14th March 2021 11:58 - Neil Foster

Ibrahima.Konate.2021.TEAMtalk

Liverpool may be able to sign RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate for less than originally thought and have a secret weapon in their quest for his signature.

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.

But it is the Reds who reportedly hold all the aces in the race to sign him this summer. Liverpool’s need for defensive help has been well documented, with Virgil van Dijk’s absence sorely felt this term.

Joel Matip and Joe Gomez have also been missing for large parts of the season. It has finally caught up with the champions, who are languishing in eighth position after losing six consecutive home games.

It seems inevitable that Jurgen Klopp will look to reinforce his rearguard in the off-season. Konate could be the answer and reports in the Sunday World suggest they might land him for as little at £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.

And it may be that clubs in France also enter the equation this summer.

Konate a big Klopp fan

One factor that could give Liverpool the edge is manager 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 Van Dijk at the heart of defence. The one negative for the Merseysiders is the fact they are struggling to make the top four.

There are eight points behind fourth-placed Chelsea but do have a game in hand on Thomas Tuchel’s side. United might be a more attractive proposition and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is known to be in the market for a centre-back.

Jurgen Klopp TEAMtalk

Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly do not seem the right players to partner with Harry Maguire. And it appears inevitable that the Norwegian coach will stick with the England man.

Therefore he might look to try and partner the Parisian with the former Leicester City star.

READ MORE: Liverpool signing feels ‘exposed’

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