Liverpool are reportedly ready to sign French Centre back Ibrahima Konate when the transfer window opens. Manager Jurgen Klopp has experienced defensive problems this season due to the number of injuries the side face at the back.
The French centre back reportedly has a buyout clause of around 40m euros (£34m), which Liverpool are happy to match.
Ibrahima Konate – One to Watch
We reported back in 2019 that Konate was One to Watch. He impressed that season, partnering with fellow Frenchman Dayot Upamecano at centre back, and helped the side greatly at such a young age.
In fact, we even likened him to another Liverpool centre back:
“Konate is a modern centre back, very similar in style to Virgil van Dijk. He is a huge presence on the pitch at 6 foot 4, but put him in a one-on-one situation and he is like a rocket.“
Konate’s ability to make recovering runs when shoulder to shoulder with a striker makes him ideal for a game as fast as the Premier League.Embed from Getty Images
“As the interception stats show, he likes to step up. Not letting the attacker have a second to turn, he is on their back like a flash. This forces them to pass backwards and slows down the attack.”
But he is not only a top defender. Konate is a great dribbler of the ball and is also able to turn defence into attack quickly with his speed and great strength.
The youngster is a commanding centre back who is comfortable on the ball as well as chasing back to goal. Similar to van Dijk, he should help to put the rest of the defence at ease.
So Ibrahima Konate seems like a good for for Liverpool. However, at the time there were rumours that the Frenchman was being scouted by Arsenal. With the London side struggling to find a consistent defensive pair, could they throw their hat into the ring?
Ibrahima Konate – RB Leipzig
This season has not been as impressive as his breakout season in 2019. He has only played 9 times for RB Leipzig, with just 5 league starts.
Dayot Upamecano and Willi Orban have been the favoured pair for young manager Julian Nagelsmann in the Bundesliga, although the Frenchman has been out for 3 months with an ankle injury.
However, Konate has been given 5 starts in the Champions League this season. The Frenchman was trusted with the big task of playing in Europe by his manager. RB Leipzig made it out of the group stages. However, they were beaten over two legs by Liverpool in the round of 16.
Despite his lack of minutes, Konate has posted some impressive stats
- 1.4 tackles/90 minutes
- 1.3 interceptions/90 minutes
- 3.9 aerials won/90 minutes in Bundesliga
- 55.2 passes/90 mins, with an 82.5% pass accuracy
- 1 goal
Liverpool Defensive Woes
Liverpool have struggled this season. And many believe the cause is the issues in the defence. The side lost starting centre backs Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez to long term injuries potentially keeping them out for the whole season.
Add in injuries to back up centre backs, and even makeshift centre backs and they have really struggled.
The signing of youngster Ozan Kabak on loan has been a light relief for the side. However, with his loan ending at the end of the season, they must decide whether he is the one to take them forward. Or whether a player like Ibrahima Konate is the man they should invest in.
This season the current Champions sit in 7th in the Premier League. They have won just 13 of a possible 29 games, and conceded 36 goals. Compare this to a total of 33 conceded in 9 more games last season and it is easy to see what has been a problem.
The question will be, with van Dijk and Gomez hopefully returning soon, is the need there for another marquee centre back. Or is the money better invested in the likes of Kabak who could cost half the price and be happy to play less.
We previously suggested David Alaba was on Liverpool’s radar. However, it seems the experienced Austrian could be on his way to Real Madrid at the expiry of his contract in the summer.
So will Ibrahima Konate be off to Liverpool? Let us know your thoughts!