Konate joining the reds
Liverpool are set to trigger RB Leipzig centre back Ibrahima Konate’s €41 million release clause this summer as they seek defensive reinforcement, according to a report from The Athletic.
The Red’s title defence was derailed by early defensive injuries to Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, which left inexperienced pair Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams to fill in, whilst Fabinho and Jordan Henderson also deputised.
However, it seems that Jurgen Klopp has made a centre-back his first priority this summer, with rumours persisting since January linking Ibrahima Konate with a move to Merseyside. And it appears as though it is finally confirmed, with transfer guru Fabrizio Romano confirming that the deal was well underway.
Ibrahima Konaté to Liverpool, done deal. Medicals already completed days ago. #LFC are gonna trigger €35m release clause in the next days and announce the signing from RB Leipzig. Here we go confirmed. 🔴 #LFC
Personal terms agreed since April 23 – contract until June 2026. https://t.co/j4codIsBnD
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 25, 2021
No desire to make Kabak permanent
With Konate seemingly on his way to England, one loser from this deal will be Ozan Kabak. The young Turkish defender joined Liverpool on loan from Schalke in January, and went on to appear nine times in the Premier League for Klopp’s side.
🔴 Liverpool intend to pay Ibrahima Konate €41m release clause
🔴 Must be up front, no instalments
🔴 #LFC not signing Ozan Kabak permanently (was option to buy for £18m + add-ons in loan)
🔴 No decision yet on Phillips
With @JamesPearceLFC @TheAthleticUKhttps://t.co/n8CpLFu0tA
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) May 25, 2021
However, David Ornstein reports that the option to buy (£18 million) will be one that Liverpool will be declining, meaning that Kabak will be returning to Germany.
To make matters worse, his parent side Schalke were relegated from the Bundesliga this season, meaning that Kabak could well go from playing Real Madrid in the Champions League to playing in the 2.Bundesliga in a matter of months.
However, the Turk will be hoping that his performances for Liverpool, combined with a strong showing at the Euros this summer, will win him a move to a top-flight side before the season begins.