Liverpool are expected to sign RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate this summer, with the Bundesliga outfit waiting for official confirmation that they will pay his £30.2m release clause.
What’s the story?
The 22-year-old has long been linked with a move to Anfield as Jurgen Klopp looks to strengthen his centre-back options ahead of the 2021/22 campaign, and now a deal looks set to be completed.
According to Sky Sports, Konate’s imminent arrival is just dependent on the Reds paying Leipzig the required fee, with Die Roten Bullen already eyeing up his replacement.
Klopp is making a mistake
Current centre-back options Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all suffered serious injuries last season, forcing the likes of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho to fill in at the heart of defence, meaning Liverpool have prioritised that area of the pitch in the transfer window.
The 2019/20 Premier League champions made the bold decision not to replace Dejan Lovren 12 months ago after the Croatia international joined Zenit St Petersburg in an £11m deal.
It left Klopp with just three recognised senior centre-backs in his first-team squad, but by January all of them had picked up season-ending issues.
Therefore, focussing on bolstering the centre-back position makes perfect sense for the Merseyside outfit. However, signing Konate does not.
Although the former France Under-21 international in undoubtedly an extremely talented player with bags of potential, he has already incurred his fair share of fitness problems, despite being just 22 years old.
The youngster started just eight league games in 2020/21, failing to start three Bundesliga matches in a row all season. An ankle injury picked up in December kept Konate on the sidelines for two months, with Dayot Upamecano and Willi Orban keeping their place in the starting XI upon his return.
As per Transfermarkt, the former Sochaux man has already missed 405 days of action through injury in his fledgling career, totalling 46 fixtures where he’s been forced to watch from the stands.
With Liverpool’s season being destroyed by a plague of injury issues, it’s hard to fathom why Klopp has turned to a man who’s already effectively missed a year of his career through a string of fitness concerns to solve the problem.
Konate appears fast, strong, comfortable with the ball at his feet, and an accomplished passer, but if he spends half his time in the physio’s room, then Liverpool are back to square one.
While it’s hard to criticise Klopp’s previous endeavours into the transfer market, this is a deal that seems almost impossible to justify, given the huge risks attached.
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