With all of the discuss Dayot Upamecano, his RB Leipzig centre-back companion Ibrahima Konate has gone considerably below the radar.
That was till stories emerged of a possible transfer to Liverpool for the highly-rated Frenchman.
Switch knowledgeable Fabrizio Romano not too long ago joined talkSPORT to substantiate the Reds are in talks with Konate’s agent over a summer season transfer.
“They’re in talks with the participant in regards to the contract and every part,” Romano advised talkSPORT. “He has a launch clause with Leipzig, who need €40m (£34.2m).
“It’s not performed in the mean time, they’re simply ready for the participant. He’s one of many targets on the record, they need a brand new centre-back in the summertime. It’s for certain not a performed deal.
He added: “Liverpool are satisfied that he is without doubt one of the finest centre-backs for the long run. Some are saying that he might be higher than Upamecano sooner or later. Think about how a lot potential this participant has.”
Certainly, Konate is already thought of one of many most interesting centre-backs in Germany regardless of his tender age.
Having acquired his soccer schooling within the Paris FC academy, the defender made his first strides in skilled soccer at Sochaux in Ligue 2 and shortly turned heads.
RB Leipzig gained the race for his signature in 2017 and Konate was launched to the aspect by present Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl, earlier than establishing himself as an vital first-team participant by the 2018/19 marketing campaign.
However with the world seemingly at his toes earlier than he turned even turned 20, Konate’s profession out of the blue stalled as a result of accidents.
For the reason that begin of the 2019/20 marketing campaign, the France youth worldwide has made simply 17 appearances in Germany’s top-flight, incomes him the unlucky nickname of ‘Ibruprofen’ amongst his RB Leipzig teammates.
Given Liverpool’s crippling disaster on the again this season, with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez struggling long-term issues, any person with Konate’s damage file won’t appear to be the wisest thought.
However at £34.2m, the RB Leipzig defender might but show to be one of many cut price buys of the summer season if Liverpool can maintain him match.
A commanding determine at 6ft 4ins and a speedy sprinter, there’s much more to Konate’s recreation than simply physicality.
Having grown up taking part in in midfield, he also can play out from the again with wonderful composure, making him an ideal match at Liverpool.
“I wasn’t born a defender,” Konate advised Bild in 2019. “I used to be as a midfielder for a very long time and even performed as a striker. And you may see that I obtained one thing out of that. It means I can transfer ahead a bit too.”
It’s not shocking Konate can do a little bit of every part, given he seems to be as much as Actual Madrid captain Sergio Ramos for inspiration.
“My idol is Sergio Ramos. For me, Sergio is like Vegeta. He all the time works,” Konate stated on UMM’s YouTube channel in February 2021.
“Sergio Ramos is Sergio Ramos and he works each time. It’s, for that reason, I like him as a result of he works each time and, for me, he’s the most effective defender on the planet immediately.”
In the meantime, Konate’s all-round capacity has even led to comparisons with Liverpool star Van Dijk, who many thought of the most effective defender in world soccer earlier than his damage final 12 months.
Guido Schafer, a former teammate of Jurgen Klopp’s at Mainz and a journalist at the moment protecting RB Leipzig, not too long ago advised Below The Radar’s podcast: “It’s a actually good worth for the participant – he’s solely 21 years previous and he’s pretty much as good as Dayot Upamecano when he’s match. They’re completely on the identical degree.
“He’s tall, quick, good method and he’s slightly little bit of Virgil van Dijk. He’s the chief, in a constructive manner, of the French connection within the Leipzig squad, on and off the sphere. He discovered German as quick as no different man.
“He has very high-class potential. He is a good athlete, he has good velocity and there are not any foolish tackles – he’s an clever participant. And within the 100 metres, Konate is the quickest participant in RB Leipzig.
“It’s a doubtlessly world-class bundle. He’s actually good in passing and that’s from Julian Nagelsmann – he wants gamers who can cross. Konate is the correct participant for [teams who play out from the back] and for Liverpool.”