Liverpool: What now for Jurgen Klopp?
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Liverpool are reportedly set to offer Ibrahima Konate a five-year contract as the Merseyside club continue to step up their interest in the highly-rated RB Leipzig defender. Konate has been heavily linked with a move to Anfield since the turn of the year, with the Reds eyeing defensive reinforcements ahead of a renewed Premier League title bid next season.
The 22-year-old has impressed when called upon for the Bundesliga outfit despite spending a significant portion of the current campaign on the treatment table.
He has played on 18 occasions in all competitions since the beginning of the season, helping to keep six clean sheets in the process.
Konate is also a key member of France’s under-21 side and will be hoping to lead his team to glory when the knockout stages of the under-21 European Championships begin next month.
Liverpool are expected to be in the market for a new central defender in the summer after seeing a damaging injury crisis derail their bid to secure successive domestic triumphs.
Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip will all be sidelined until the end of the season, with their absences leaving the Reds short in terms of both quality and numbers at the back as of late.
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January signing Ozan Kabak, who joined on loan from Schalke in order to alleviate Liverpool’s problems, has impressed on occasion but it remains to be seen whether Jurgen Klopp’s side will exercise their £18million option to buy at the end of his temporary spell.
Konate has since emerged as the club’s priority target, and it seems as though the wheels could already be in motion ahead of a summer approach for his services.
Liverpool are preparing to offer the Frenchman a five-year deal at Anfield, according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano.
It is claimed that nothing has been agreed as of yet, with the Reds still working on striking an agreement with Leipzig.
The German side are reportedly unwilling to part ways with their man unless Liverpool can match his £34m release clause.
It remains to be seen whether last season’s Premier League champions will decide to meet Leipzig’s demands or pass up the opportunity to sign Konate in favour of Kabak for almost half the price.
The former appeared to distance himself from the speculation surrounding his future earlier this week, revealing that neither he nor his representatives have been sounded out by Liverpool over the possibility of a move.
“There are often rumours in football and many believe them immediately,” Konate told Bild.
“Neither I nor my agents got a call from Liverpool. I also have big goals with RB Leipzig.
“These are currently achieving the best possible finish in the Bundesliga, reaching the cup final and [winning] the under-21 European Championships with France.”
Konate, who is under contract until the summer of 2023, also reaffirmed his commitment to honouring the extension he signed two years ago.
When quizzed on his current situation, he replied: “I have a contract until 2023. And contracts are there to be fulfilled.”
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