Liverpool are set to win the race for the services of RB Leipzig’s Ibrahima Konate after the 21-year-old agreed personal terms on a five-year contract with the Merseysiders on Friday, as reported by Fabrizio Romano.
It was reported about a month ago that Liverpool were in the final stages of negotiations with the French defender, and it seems that an agreement has now been reached and Konate will become a Liverpool player in the summer.
Having already lost Dayot Upamecano – who is set to join Bayern Munich at the end of the season, Leipzig have been extremely reluctant to part ways with Konate as well, feeling that it would leave them rather thin and in need of reinforcements in the centre-back department. They’ve been unwilling to negotiate a price, but Liverpool are apparently prepared to take the matter out of their hands by paying the release clause in his contract, which Romano claims amounts to around €35 million.
If any club knows about having the centre-back department stretched thin, it would be Liverpool. They entered the season with just three senior designated players in that position and have been forced to promote two from their youth setup and complete emergency signings of two more in the winter window, as they lost first Virgil van Dijk for the season, then Joe Gomez, and eventually Joel Matip as well. Midfielders Fabinho and Jordan Henderson have been used there occasionally, but even Henderson won’t play again this term.
Ozan Kabak, who arrived from Schalke on the last day of the January window, has been putting in fine performances lately and is likely to stay at Anfield permanently, while Ben Davies, signed from Preston North End just a few hours before Kabak, is yet to play for the club.