Liverpool are closing in on the signing of Ibrahima Konate and intend to meet the RB Leipzig defender’s release clause in recent weeks. Liverpool’s qualification for the Champions League has enabled the club to push on with plans to secure primary transfer target Ibrahima Konate from Bundesliga club Leipzig as they look to bolster their defence ahead of next season.
Liverpool to announce new signing with medicals already completed
RB Leipzig expect Ibrahima Konate to join Liverpool this summer and are waiting for official confirmation that they will pay his €35m (£30.2m) release clause. Konate started eight Bundesliga games for Leipzig this season, with the club finishing second, 13 points behind champions Bayern Munich.
The centre back, who turns 22 today, is in France preparing for his country’s European U21 Championship quarter-final against Holland next week, and German sources understand he will resolve his move to Anfield imminently. Liverpool have been looking to strengthen in central defence after losing Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip to injury this season.
Liverpool identified Konate as a target last year but he suffered an ankle injury in December and was an unused substitute in both Champions League knockout games between the two clubs in the round of 16. Konate featured 21 times for the German outfit this season but only started eight matches in the Bundesliga as Bayern Munich-bound Dayot Upamecano and Willi Orban established themselves as the first-choice centre-back pairing.
Discussions with the centre-back’s agent, Jonathan Barnett, took place at the turn of the year and by April it was clear that a deal in principle had been personally struck with the 22-year-old, but it was contingent on a number of factors which included the club’s final top-flight position. Finishing third secures financial security for Liverpool, allowing them to meet Konate’s €41 million release clause that requires an upfront payment. The defender had also wanted to continue his development competing amongst Europe’s elite.
Liverpool insist the clause has not been activated yet, and with Konate part of the France U21 European Championship team in Hungary and Slovenia, a deal could only be completed when his tournament ends.
Leipzig are already understood to be looking for a replacement for Konate with France also keen that the deal is wrapped up quickly so he can focus on his international commitments.
It is understood that Liverpool do not intend to sign Kabak, who arrived at the club on loan from Schalke in January. Liverpool have the option to make that loan move permanent for £18 million plus add ons, but have decided against such a plan. Kabak, who made 13 appearances after arriving on loan from Schalke, is aware of Liverpool’s intentions and is now speaking to other clubs.