Manchester United are interested in signing Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig this summer, according to the Independent, but they face potentially strong competition from Liverpool and Chelsea for the defender’s signature.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made it quite clear over the last few days that he doesn’t consider his team as genuine title contenders yet, but he’s keen to take the next step towards it. And it seems he sees strengthening the back line a top priority. The club had an interest in Konate’s teammate Dayot Upamecano previously, but in light of the recent statements coming from Bayern Munich, it seems the sought-after Frenchman is set to join the Bundesliga champions.
Liverpool’s need to boost their centre-back ranks has been thoroughly documented this season, with all three of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip suffering long-term injuries. Their results have suffered accordingly, and they already seem to be out of the title race, being 10 points behind Manchester City who have a game in hand on them to boot.
The still-reigning champions have made some emergency signings on the final day of the January transfer window. Ozan Kabak arrived on loan from Schalke 04 together with Ben Davies from Preston North End.
As for Chelsea, they signed former Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva on a free transfer last summer and his experience has been vital for their otherwise shaky defence, but the Brazilian will be turning 37 this year and the need for a younger player of high quality is obvious.
But whichever team ends up signing Konate will likely be asked to pay a very considerable fee. The 21-year-old is contracted to Leipzig until the summer of 2023, and if Upamecano does leave, they won’t be too happy about the prospect of losing another one of their prized defenders at the same time.