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Sport Michael Edwards' Ibrahima Konate transfer plan is good news for Liverpool's title rivals

09:40  04 april  2021
09:40  04 april  2021 Source:   express.co.uk

Liverpool reach verbal agreement to sign RB Leipzig's Ibrahima Konate

  Liverpool reach verbal agreement to sign RB Leipzig's Ibrahima Konate Michael Edwards strikes again

a man posing for a picture: Michael Edwards' Ibrahima Konate transfer plan is good news for Liverpool's title rivals © GETTY Michael Edwards' Ibrahima Konate transfer plan is good news for Liverpool's title rivals

Liverpool's plans for the summer were this week slightly uncovered, their search for a new centre-back leading them to RB Leipzig's Ibrahima Konate. The Frenchman has a £34million release clause in his contract and while Leipzig sporting director Markus Krosche is confident of keeping the 21-year-old, The Athletic say a deal is close.

Konate would be a fantastic addition to add to a defence next season that is heavily dependent on injured players returning quickly to their best physical conditions.

'From Liverpool' - Reliable journalist reveals latest transfer update on Konate

  'From Liverpool' - Reliable journalist reveals latest transfer update on Konate Speaking on the latest Here We Go podcast, Fabrizio Romano has been discussing Liverpool’s reported interest in the RB Leipzig defender, Ibrahima Konate. The Reds were linked with Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano in January, however, Bayern Munich beat them to the defender who will join the Bundesliga leaders in the summer. As a result, Jurgen Klopp […]The Reds were linked with Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano in January, however, Bayern Munich beat them to the defender who will join the Bundesliga leaders in the summer.

Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip have spent significant spells on the sidelines this season and the trio have all been sorely missed by the Reds.

Konate, though he too has had his own fitness problems this season and last, would offer another top-class option and has the attributes and potential to be an elite-level defender and one of the very best in Europe.

Yet the Liverpool Echo say that Liverpool are only looking to add one senior centre-back to their squad in the summer transfer window.

And that means the on-loan Ozan Kabak could fall victim if Liverpool are able to secure a deal for the highly-rated Konate.

That would be a controversial move, with Kabak only gaining in popularity among the Liverpool fanbase of late and the 21-year-old displaying more of his own potential with each game.

It's now clear who Liverpool's top summer target is, will cost £34m

  It's now clear who Liverpool's top summer target is, will cost £34m Key target for Klopp

a woman holding a football ball on a field: Michael Edwards' Ibrahima Konate transfer plan is good news for Liverpool's title rivals © GETTY Michael Edwards' Ibrahima Konate transfer plan is good news for Liverpool's title rivals

Solid against Wolves and Leipzig prior to the international break, it's easy to forget the Schalke man has been thrown into an out-of-sorts team that places strenuous demands on its centre-halves.

Excellent in the air and strong on the ball, Kabak is available for £18million in the summer and the Turk is said to be desperate to seal a permanent move to Anfield.

Given Matip's wretched injury record on Merseyside and the fact it could take time for Van Dijk and Gomez to rediscover their peak form and fitness, it would hardly be a bad idea to recruit both Kabak and Konate.

That would allow them to treat Matip as more of a luxury, and though it may actually give them one too many options at the back if all were fit, it would ease the pressure on the likes of Van Dijk and Gomez to instantly perform.

Liverpool transfer target Ibrahima Konate ‘dissatisfied' as £34m deal faces obstacle

  Liverpool transfer target Ibrahima Konate ‘dissatisfied' as £34m deal faces obstacle Liverpool have earmarked Ibrahima Konate as their main priority heading into the summer transfer window.Their issues have largely stemmed from long-term injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, while Joel Matip and Fabinho have also struggled with their fitness.

Kabak is beginning to show, in tricky circumstances, he can impress at Liverpool. That's despite his seven appearances thus far coming alongside Jordan Henderson (x3), Nat Phillips (x3) and Fabinho (x1).

Next to a defender the quality of Van Dijk, Gomez, Matip or Konate, he would surely only look even better, especially given he'd have had more time to adjust to the requirements of playing the position in this Liverpool team.

a man standing in front of a crowd: Michael Edwards' Ibrahima Konate transfer plan is good news for Liverpool's title rivals © GETTY Michael Edwards' Ibrahima Konate transfer plan is good news for Liverpool's title rivals

Kabak can be the long-term replacement for Matip that will surely soon be needed. The Cameroonian is under contract until 2024 but turns 30 this summer and has not started three consecutive Premier League matches since September 2019.

By the time he returns, it will be close to two years since his body has been capable of allowing him to play three straight league games. That, obviously, is not good enough.

To go into the 2021-22 season expecting Matip's injury problems to simply disappear would be a significant gamble from a Liverpool set-up that are usually savvy.

Liverpool switch 'not an option' for Konate, claims RB Leipzig sporting director

  Liverpool switch 'not an option' for Konate, claims RB Leipzig sporting director He has been linked with a move to Liverpool, but RB Leipzig's sporting director sees no reason why Ibrahima Konate should leave.Reports surfaced on Monday claiming the reigning Premier League champions have made "significant progress" in their pursuit of the 21-year-old, who is said to have a €40million (£34m) release clause.

And while Fabinho and Henderson have impressed in central defence, the impact of their absences in midfield mean Liverpool simply have to beef up their numbers at the back.

Phillips has also done well but is more limited than Konate and Kabak technically, although the way he has filled in has been admirable.

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Michael Edwards' Ibrahima Konate transfer plan is good news for Liverpool's title rivals © EXPRESS SPORT Michael Edwards' Ibrahima Konate transfer plan is good news for Liverpool's title rivals

At 24 perhaps the best outcome for both parties would be if Phillips were allowed a move to a club where he can play more permanently, perhaps at the bottom end of the Premier League or in the Championship, to truly begin forging his career.

Signing both Konate and Kabak, though Liverpool may not have much money if they don't qualify for the Champions League, would appear to make a great deal of short-term and long-term sense.

And even if Liverpool have to sell Matip, although he has operated at a world-class level for the Premier League champions in the past few seasons at the times he's been fit, to do so, it still appears to make a great deal of sense.

Signing just Konate, off the back of his injury problems, and expecting Matip's durability to improve, then piles a whole load of pressure on Van Dijk and Gomez.

That can be avoided by exercising Kabak's clause, which would offer Liverpool five excellent centre-back options - although it's likely to be rarer than not that all five will be available at the same time.

Given the ambitions to once again rival Manchester City next season, and with Manchester United and Chelsea also improving, strengthening the weakest position of the squad to such an extent would prove Liverpool are serious, as well as ensuring they are best prepared in case injury horror strikes the back-line again next term.

Exclusive: Liverpool wants to enable Ozan Kabak's purchase option .
Exclusive - Liverpool is ready to draw the purchase option in the loan agreement of Ozan Kabak after being impressed by its development in recent months. © Provided by 90min Julian Finney / Getty Images The Reds had followed Kabak a while and finally completed a loan agreement in January to oblige him for the injury-related decimated domestic defense. As part of the deal, Liverpool paid a fee of around 1.7 million euros in advance and acted in the option to permanently oblige it for an addition

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