Liverpool are poised to complete the signing of Ibrahima Konate inside the next 48 hours having triggered his £36million release clause, per reports. Koante will become Liverpool’s first signing of the summer transfer window.
The RB Leipzig centre-back has already agreed personal terms on a move to Merseyside with only the formalities of a move needing to be finalised to get the deal done now that an agreement is also in place with Leipzig.
The Frenchman, playing for his country at the upcoming under-21 Euros, will strengthen Liverpool’s back-line and offer an extra option at the back alongside Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.
Konate, who made 21 appearances for Leipzig this term, is Liverpool’s priority transfer target and the 22-year-old has been picked out ahead of Marseille’s Duje Caleta-Car among others.
He was an unused substitute as Liverpool got the better of Leipzig 4-0 on aggregate in the Champions League last 16 matches earlier this year.
The Daily Star say that the Merseyside club picked out Konate as their preferred target before of his youth, current ability and potential future ability.
And his signing is expected to be formally announced by Liverpool this weekend or if not, early next week.
Konate’s arrival means Ozan Kabak’s loan move from Schalke will not be made permanent despite an £18m clause to bring the Turk to Anfield on a full-time basis.
The 21-year-old fared reasonably well in the circumstances after joining on loan in January but Liverpool only want to sign one new central defender.
The Star say that is because they expect Van Dijk, Gomez and Matip all to be fit for the start of pre-season training in July.
Liverpool legend John Barnes meanwhile said to BonusCodeBets recently of the addition of Konate: “Konate is a very positive signing for Liverpool, he’s incredibly talented.
“Obviously, a centre back coming in would be great for Liverpool, but with Joe Gomez, Virgil Van Dijk and Joel Matip coming back, they were right to sign Ibrahima Konate as a defensive choice.
“From what I’ve seen of him, he’s an incredibly talented player with all the right attributes to have a very good career at Liverpool. It’s a positive signing for the club.”
He added of the decision not to sign Kabak: “If you look at what Liverpool needed in January, it is not surprising to see that we have signed Ibrahima Konate, but not Ozan Kabak.
“Kabak is someone the club brought in short-term, but Ibrahima Konate is a player who would be in front of Kabak in the pecking order in terms of buying on a long-term deal and playing in the first team.”
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It remains to be seen what Konate’s acquisition means for the likes of Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams, who played a key role in sealing Champions League qualification for Liverpool.
Ben Davies also signed from Championship side Preston North End in January but is still yet to make his debut, and may well be sold without ever making a single appearance for the club.