Liverpool are now not thought to be pursuing a move for RB Leipzig centre-back Ibrahima Konate, despite initial reports suggesting a deal was close to completion.
Late in March, it was reported that Liverpool were ‘finalising‘ the signing of the 21-year-old, whose £35m release clause makes him one of the most affordable young defenders around. However, Leipzig immediately cast doubt on the rumour by stating Liverpool was ‘not an option‘ for Konate.
Things have gone a little quiet since then, but SportBILD (via Sport Witness) have brought it back just to shoot it down. As the story goes, Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff was so bemused by the story that he contacted Liverpool to find out what was going on, only to be told that Konate is ‘not an issue’ for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
It is still expected that Konate will leave Leipzig this summer, but it’s said pretty confidently that his next destination won’t be Liverpool, who are not thought to be interested in the centre-back at this point.
That doesn’t definitively mean that Liverpool will not sign Konate, whose affordable release clause means things can change at any given second, but most in Germany seem confused as to why this story started circulating in the first place.
Sky Deutschland recently stated that there was ‘no concrete offer’ for Konate just yet, although the Frenchman is thought to be increasingly unhappy with manager Julian Nagelsmann’s treatment of him, leaving the door open to a potential move away.
Chelsea and Arsenal have both recently been credited with an interest in Konate, and with Liverpool’s negotiations not thought to be anywhere near as close to completion as initial reports suggest, there could still be some twists and turns in this one.
As for Liverpool, they are still expected to pursue a new centre-back this summer. BILD believe that the man at the top of their wish list is already at the club. Ozan Kabak, who joined on a half-season loan from Schalke, can become a permanent signing by activating an option to buy which sits at around the £18m mark.
The Turkey international has been solid since moving to Anfield in the summer. He has managed nine appearances in all competitions, and although he hasn’t fixed Liverpool’s defensive problems completely, he has done enough to show why he was billed as one of the Bundesliga’s finest young defenders last season.
There have been rumours that Liverpool want to sign two centre-backs this summer. Kabak seems likely to be the first, but all the signs suggest he won’t be partnering Konate next year.