Barcelona and Real Madrid have reportedly both shown an interest in signing RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate ahead of the summer transfer window.
According to a report from Spanish publication AS, Barcelona and Real Madrid could be set for a transfer battle in the summer over the potential signing of RB Leipzig’s towering defender Ibrahima Konate.
Having been at the German outfit since 2017, Konate has grown into one of the most promising young centre-backs in the Bundesliga. And even though he has struggled with injury issues in the last season as well as the ongoing one, the Frenchman’s stock continues to soar high.
Indeed, a host of big clubs such as Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool have all expressed an interest in Konate ahead of the summer transfer window. And now, it seems like Barcelona and Real Madrid too have entered the fray for the signing of the French youth international.
Barcelona are in need of defensive reinforcements in the summer as veteran defender Gerard Pique enters the final phase of his storied career. In addition, both Samuel Umtiti and Clement Lenglet have not been consistent enough, leaving manager Ronald Koeman reliant on two youngsters in Ronald Araujo and Oscar Mingueza.
Thus, bolstering their defensive unit with another addition becomes imperative for the Catalans. Inter Milan’s Alessandro Bastoni has been touted as a potential target for Barcelona, but the club seem to be keeping their options open with Konate also on the radars.
Real Madrid, too, could be in line for a major defensive overhaul in the summer as club captain and legend Sergio Ramos nears the expiry of his contract while fellow defensive mainstay Raphael Varane is also considering his future at the Spanish capital club.
In the eventuality that both end up leaving, Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane will be left with utility player Nacho and the unconvincing Eder Militao as his options at the heart of the defence. So, signing a new centre-back is a top priority for Los Blancos with Pau Torres, Jules Kounde and David Alaba all on their radars, as per the report.
Amidst this, Konate is also someone that the Merengues have been keeping an eye on for over a year. It has previously been reported that manager Zidane is an admirer of Konate and wants him at the club ahead of the next season, but the defender’s injury problems are causing concern for the club.
Both Barcelona and Real Madrid were keen on Konate’s RB Leipzig teammate Dayot Upamecano. However, the Frenchman has already signed for Bayern Munich, leaving the La Liga duo to battle it out over Konate.
The 21-year-old has a release clause worth €45 million, but Leipzig would be open to doing business for a fee around €25-€30 million, as per the report. It now remains to be seen if either Barcelona or Real Madrid make a move for Konate or consider other options to bolster their defensive unit in the summer.