Liverpool have triggered Ibrahima Konate’s £36m release clause and expect the centre-back to complete formalities on a deal in the “next 48 hours”.
That’s the latest from a number of sources, who have clearly been briefed by Anfield sources. Sky Sports and The Times report that Michael Edwards has agreed to pay RB Leipzig their asking price for the 22-year-old defender. The latter report that talks with the player and Anfield officials have taken place. And the club have agreed a “payment structure” with the Bundesliga side.
The Independent report that everything has bee formalised and Liverpool are “prepping the announcement”.
Edwards and Co wanted to speed up the process with Konate, who is away with France at the U21 European Championship team in Hungary and Slovenia.
Konate, who made 21 appearances for Leipzig this season, is believed to be Klopp’s primary defensive target after the German had to settle for stop-gaps in January.
Ozan Kabak arrived on loan from Schalke. The club though will not exercise the option to make his deal permanent for £18m.
A move for the Turkey international only arose after Marseille refused to sell Duje Caleta-Car, as per The Independent.
Now Klopp has got his man. A 1.94m tall defender that he can rotate with Virgil van Dijk (1.93m), Joel Matip (1.95m) and Gomez.
Konate will become Jurgen Klopp’s first summer signing and it could prompt a reshuffling of his defensive options.
Konate to prompt defensive departures
Nathaniel Phillips is pondering whether to remain at Anfield to potentially be fifth-choice. The Independent suggests the 24-year-old, who is under contract until 2023, could try his luck elsewhere.
Klopp has talked up his stand-in defender recently and labelled him a “proper Premier League player”.
Ben Davies is also “unlikely to stay on Merseyside” having not played a minute for the club. The former Preston man also arrived in January, like Kabak, but he struggled with injuries and a move away also looks to be on the cards.
“Looking forward to a productive off season and a positive upcoming season! Thanks for the support since I joined Reds! See you soon,” said Davies this week.
The return to fitness in pre-season of Van Dijk, Matip and Joe Gomez could also see Rhys Williams, 20, leave. The player is apparently “fielding loan offers” after nine Premier League appearances this season.