Transfer News: Liverpool reach verbal agreement to sign Ibrahima Konate

Liverpool are reportedly making solid ground in pursuit of RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate, who could move to Anfield this summer.

According to an exclusive report from Anfield Central, Liverpool have reached a verbal agreement with RB Leipzig over the transfer of Ibrahima Konate. The two sides are still in talks and the deal could be finalised before the end of the ongoing campaign or later this summer.

Although Liverpool had primarily targeted Dayot Upamecano for the upcoming summer transfer, the Frenchman’s decision to join Bayern Munich has forced the club to set their sights on his defensive partner at Leipzig, in the form of Konate.

Much like his compatriot, Konate is highly rated by fans and experts due to his imposing presence at the back as well as the pace and athleticism that make him one of the best young centre-backs in the Bundesliga. The former Sochaux prodigy, though, has not been able to attract as much interest as Upamecano due to his poor injury record, having barely featured for Leipzig since the extremely successful 2018/19 campaign.

A torn muscle fibre in 2019 kept him out for a total of 225 days, thus restricting his game-time to a little over 500 minutes in the Bundesliga last season. Although Konate did eventually recover from that problem, his fitness and injury issues have persisted, with the defender notably missing a total of 15 matches in all competitions this season.

On Liverpool's radar. (Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)
On Liverpool’s radar. (Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)

It has left Julian Nagelsmann quite frustrated, with the German tactician largely utilising Konate as a rotation player and often preferring the likes of Lukas Klostermann and Willi Orban ahead of him in the central defensive role.

It does not bode well for a Liverpool side that may have to fork out around €40 million to secure the services of Konate this summer. The Merseyside giants are already expected to operate with limited funds in light of the financial issues caused by the pandemic. They are, however, expected to offload some fringe players, with Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain recently being linked with a move to West Ham.

As far the defensive unit is concerned, the arrival of Konate is sure to add some steel in the Liverpool backline that has struggled with the absence of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip for the majority of the campaign.

The Frenchman could be an ideal defensive partner for someone like van Dijk next season, with the duo offering a nice mix of youth and experience. However, it could force Liverpool to opt out of the buyout clause in Ozan Kabak’s loan deal, even though recent reports suggest that the Reds could bag the Turk’s services for a cut-price fee.

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