Liverpool have confirmed the signing of Red Bull Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate.
What’s the latest transfer news involving Konate?
After a number of journalists including Dominic King announced a deal to sign Konate would be completed within the next 48 hours, Liverpool confirmed his arrival on their official website.
Konate will officially join the Reds when his contract starts on July 1st, having already completed a medical and agreed personal terms.
Fabrizio Romano recently specified that the player has signed a five-year deal until June 2026, and it’s claimed Liverpool triggered his £36m release clause.
It’s OFFICIAL! Liverpool have signed Ibrahima Konate – Hear more on The Football Terrace…
What does his arrival mean for Ozan Kabak?
According to The Athletic, Kabak has been informed that Liverpool are not going to trigger their £18m option-to-buy clause and that he will return to Schalke upon the completion of his loan spell.
The report explained that the Turkey international moved out of his house and said his goodbyes to the Liverpool squad and staff upon the news that he will not remain at Anfield.
Despite some impressive displays in his short spell with the Reds, he was outshone by one of Liverpool’s own in the shape of Nat Phillips. Konate’s arrival would push him further down the pecking order, making the £18m payment a largely unnecessary expense.
Where will Konate be in Liverpool’s defensive pecking order?
When fit Virgil van Dijk will be a shoo-in at the back for Liverpool and the main talking point will be around who should partner him in defence.
Konate will likely battle the likes of Joe Gomez and Joel Matip for the second centre-back spot once the pair return from injury next season. If all four can maintain a consistent level of fitness for the side then Liverpool will be solid defensive unit in the 2021/22 campaign.
Liverpool are unlikely to have invested in Konate for nothing, however, and with van Dijk, Gomez and Matip all currently injured, the centre-back slot alongside the Dutchman does feel like the new signing’s to lose.
There’s also Phillips to think about – with a Whoscored rating of 7.29 this season, he’s given a solid account of himself and may well have a role in Jurgen Klopp’s long-term plans.
Which position should Liverpool upgrade next?
With Harvey Elliott set to rejoin the squad as an attacking option behind Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota, Liverpool should now be looking to improve the midfield area with the coming departure of Gini Wijnaldum leaving them short.
Despite Curtis Jones being a possible option to take the Dutchman’s place in the starting XI, Liverpool should still look at an extra midfield option due to the injury records of some of their other players.
Naby Keita, Jordan Henderson and Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain have a combined absence of 256 days – equating to 50 missed games – for the club this term according to Transfermarkt. Wijnaldum has had a near spotless injury record at Liverpool and his reliability has been a key asset that Klopp won’t have at his disposal anymore.
Liverpool have been linked with Brighton’s Yves Bissouma and according to Anfield Central, a meeting is scheduled with his agent to discuss a potential switch to Anfield.