RB Leipzig have told Liverpool to pay Ibrahima Konate’s release clause in full or forget about signing the centre-back, a report claims.
Of the areas in his squad which manager Jurgen Klopp could address, defence has become a key concern. Liverpool’s three senior centre-halves may be closing in on returns, but injuries to the trio have taught the Reds a cruel lesson. As such, Klopp is reportedly looking to bring a fourth option in if the worst happens again.
Furthermore, France Under-21 international Konate has emerged as a key target.
Liverpool are reportedly well down the road to signing him, after agreeing personal terms on a five-year contract.
Konate, meanwhile, reportedly began house-hunting on Merseyside earlier this month.
Therefore, the transfer fee remains the only obstacle between Liverpool and the 21-year-old.
That figure stands at £34million and, according to The Times, the Reds had hoped to pay the sum in instalments.
However, the newspaper claims that Leipzig want the fee in one payment. Indeed, they have threatened to end talks with Liverpool if they refuse to meet that demand.
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Nevertheless, Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff has insisted that he wants to trim his squad with up to four departures.
In addition, the Bundesliga club have made two new centre-back signings in Mohamed Simakan and Josko Gvardiol.
Those signings will help to replace Bayern Munich-bound Dayot Upamecano, but Konate could still be sold.
The defender has had a bit-part role at Leipzig this season amid muscle and ankle injuries.
Overall, he has made 20 appearances, including 13 in the Bundesliga.
Liverpool could sell big signing
As Liverpool’s owners have demonstrated most memorably with Philippe Coutinho’s departure, Fenway Sports Group will not sanction spending unless they can earn the money back.
As such, Konate’s arrival could come at a cost, with one pundit claiming that Naby Keita could leave Anfield.
The midfielder arrived for £52million from Leipzig in 2019, but has consistently struggled with injuries.