Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United are all reportedly interested in signing RB Leipzig’s French defender Ibrahima Konate in the summer transfer window.
According to a report from German publication BILD, Premier League heavyweights Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United have all shifted their attention towards RB Leipzig centre-back Ibrahima Konate after having missed out on his teammate, Dayot Upamecano’s signing.
Upamecano had been on the transfer wishlist of all the aforementioned clubs, along with a few more teams across Europe. However, the Frenchman will be joining reigning German and European champions Bayern Munich at the end of the campaign, causing the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United to now target Konate.
The 21-year-old came through the youth ranks at Paris FC and spent his formative years with FC Sochaux before signing for RB Leipzig in 2017. The towering centre-back immediately became a mainstay at the back for the Saxony-based outfit and even though injuries have hampered his development over the past year or so, his stock has not fallen.
So far, Konate has featured in 87 games for RB Leipzig, contributing with four goals. The 21-year-old Frenchman is contracted with the Bundesliga outfit till the summer of 2023 but has a release clause worth around €45 million, which the aforementioned clubs are now considering triggering come summer.
Chelsea have shown great solidity defensively ever since Thomas Tuchel took over the reins of the club last month. However, the Blues must look for a long-term replacement for veteran defender Thiago Silva, who will turn 37 in the near future.
In addition, Fikayo Tomori’s future is also uncertain, with the Englishman currently out on loan at AC Milan, who have the option to make the transfer permanent. So, bringing in a new centre-back to strengthen their ranks in the summer makes a lot of sense for Tuchel & co., with Konate emerging as a viable target.
As far as Liverpool are concerned, the Reds have been brutally exposed defensively this term following injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip. The likes of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson did commendable jobs filling but are not naturals in the positions and their absence in midfield has hurt the Reds as well.
While Jurgen Klopp did sign Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak in January, the former is largely unproven at the highest level while the latter is only on loan. So, securing the signing of a towering centre-back like Konate, who also possesses good technical abilities would be a shrewd move on the Premier League champions’ part.
Manchester United’s defensive issues need no introduction. The first-choice centre-back pairing of Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof has failed to perform consistently, hampering their chances of a surprise Premier League title push while Eric Bailly has once again endured an injury-riddled campaign.
Thus, signing a new centre-back in the summer would be a necessary move for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. While the Red Devils were said to be prioritising a move for Sevilla’s Jules Kounde, Konate might present a cheaper alternative, owing to his €45 million exit clause.
It now remains to be seen if any of the teams do launch an offensive for Konate come summer.