Ibrahima Konate: Liverpool close to sealing transfer after triggering RB Leipzig defender’s release clause

The centre-back is set to feature for France at the U21 European Championships this summer

Melissa Reddy
Senior Football Correspondent
Friday 28 May 2021 09:19 BST
(Getty Images)

Liverpool have triggered Ibrahima Konate’s £36 million release clause at RB Leipzig and are prepping the official announcement of the signing with all formalities completed.

The centre-back is expected to be confirmed as Jurgen Klopp’s first new recruit of the summer well before the end of the weekend with the clubs agreeing to a bespoke payment structure.

The Merseysiders wanted to speed up the process with Konate a core part of the France U21 European Championship team in Hungary and Slovenia.

The 22-year-old has been the club’s primary defensive target, ticking the boxes on stylistic approach, age, system he’s used to playing in and availability on a good fee.

As revealed by The Independent in January, Liverpool were not pursuing David Alaba to play in the heart of defence as they were seeking a younger, taller, more physically dominant candidate - especially in the air.

Konate stands at 1.94 m, in comparison to Virgil van Dijk at 1.93m, and Joel Matip at 1.95m.

Liverpool have not taken up the option to make Ozan Kabak’s loan deal permanent for £18 million, and Nathaniel Phillips is now pondering whether to remain at Anfield to potentially be fifth-choice or seek regular starts elsewhere.

Ben Davies is unlikely to stay on Merseyside having not played a minute for the club, while Rhys Williams is fielding loan offers.

By securing Konate, Liverpool hope to solve a long-standing key issue of not having enough quality in depth in defence given the injury records of Matip and Joe Gomez.

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