What does Konate signing mean for Liverpool’s defence next season?

Stefan Bienkowski
What does Konate signing mean for Liverpool’s defence next season?

Liverpool are looking to bolster their defensive options in the summer with some major investment spent on bringing RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate to the club.

According to the Athletic, the Premier League giants have held an interest in the young defender for a number of years now and have decided to push ahead with signing Konate this summer. 

Despite having a contract with the Bundesliga side that is set to run until 2023, Konate reportedly has a minimum-fee release clause of €40 million. 

According to the publication, Liverpool are set to offer that amount for the player in a bid to push through the deal as quickly as possible and avoid any delays through negotiations with RB Leipzig throughout the summer. 

So what would Konate’s arrival mean for Liverpool’s summer transfer policy and how their defence may look next season? 

Konate at the heart of a Liverpool rebuild in defence

While there’s no doubt that Liverpool have needed additional central defenders for much of this season, once everyone is back and fighting fit at the end of this current campaign Jurgen Klopp may find himself with a rather crowded back line. 

For example, the Anfield side may be struggling to put together a competent back line most weeks but they still have no less than seven senior central defenders on their books – and that’s even after we exclude Fabinho. 

If the club fork out for Konate in the summer, that should undoubtedly suggest that Klopp has every intention of letting some defenders then leave the club. The most likely candidates in that case will be Ben Davies, Nathaniel Phillips and Joel Matip, while young defender Rhys Williams could find himself on loan at another club.

READ MORE: Barcelona flop Dembele ‘back to his best’

There’s also the question of what happens to Ozan Kabak. The Schalke defender joined the club on loan in January and after a bumpy start to life at Anfield, the Turkey international has since settled into Klopp’s team rather well. 

However, rather than discard the young player entirely, reports in England have suggested that Kabak could be signed for around €20m and may instead join Konate at the club in a permanent deal this summer. 

As such, Liverpool may find themselves conducting a defensive clear-out throughout the summer, while signing two, exciting young defenders to compete with Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk in defence next summer.