Should Liverpool target Aston Villa defender Konsa?

Nicholas Hughes
Nicholas Hughes
  • Updated: 19 May 2021 15:43 BST
  • 2 min read
Should Liverpool target Aston Villa defender Konsa?

Liverpool pulled the trigger on transfer deadline day by bringing in two new centre backs, but their eyes could already be on the summer with Aston Villa’s Ezri Konsa a reported target.

The Athletic have suggested that Liverpool, as well as Spurs, are interested in the 22-year-old who has played a starring role in Aston Villa’s brilliant Premier League season so far.

Konsa has played the full 90 minutes in each of Villa’s last nine games in the league, totalling 20 appearances so far with 19 starts.

He had arrived from Brentford in the summer of 2019 after a good season in the Championship before making 25 appearances in his debut top flight campaign.

Konsa has since gone from strength to strength and has been a mainstay in a Villa back four that, with Emiliano Martinez behind them, has the second-best defensive record in the league after having the second worst in 2019/20.

Building on a strong campaign last season, Konsa has upped his passing efficiency from 78% to 85%, playing less long balls per 90 minutes and generally being slightly less involved on the ball.

Liverpool’s next centre-back target?

Tackle success rate57%
Aerial duel success rate55%
Duel success rate66%
Passes P9033.1
Passing accuracy85%
via FootballCritic

If he were to go into a ball-playing team such as Liverpool, his 33.1 passes P90 would have to greatly increase, as would likely his 4.4 long balls P90 knowing how much emphasis Jurgen Klopp puts on his centre halves having a sound range of passing.

While not breaking the ceiling himself, there has been a steady improvement in all defensive categories this season as he has improved his success rate in tackling, aerial duels and ground duels.

At just 183cm tall, Konsa is some way short of Liverpool’s other centre-back options, which may make a deal unlikely as Klopp has typically preferred height in centre halves for both attacking and defending set pieces.

Still very early doors, it is difficult to know how much of a transfer fee Aston Villa would demand, but Dean Smith would surely drive a hard bargain given his age, his homegrown status and his burgeoning reputation across the domestic game.

All that said, the fact that Liverpool just signed two centre-backs, including 20-year-old Ozan Kabak who is surely a big project for the future, probably means another one in the summer isn’t necessary.

With everyone fit, the Reds have five senior centre-backs in the squad, and add to those Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams if they stay, and even Fabinho as cover behind those, there already seems to be enough options.

But with Konsa’s quality and potential for growth, Klopp and his staff could have their hand moved in the summer if they think their fitness issues will come back to haunt them again.