When Ibrahima Konate joins Liverpool, he will not be the first footballer with connections to the Red Bull franchise of clubs to come to Anfield.
Ibrahima Konate (C)
Liverpool’s new signing is leading the France Under-21s pic.twitter.com/zCzXMag0sE
— Goal (@goal) May 31, 2021
Between the Reds and Bayern Munich, the defence of RB Leipzig, which again finished best of the rest in the Bundesliga, has been dismantled. While fellow France youth international Dayot Upamecano will play his football at the Allianz next season, Konate is heading to Merseyside following their involvement at the Under-21 Euros.
He follows in the footsteps of Guinea midfielder Naby Keita in making the same switch from Leipzig to Liverpool. Although you won’t hear anyone at the Saxony side say this too loud, developing young players and selling them on for a profit is very much their modus operandi.
"The ceiling is very high for him"
Get the lowdown on our new signing @IbrahimaKonate_
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) May 30, 2021
For recent evidence of that, look no further than Timo Werner – now a Champions League winner with Chelsea. Keita has only played 53 Premier League games in the three seasons since he joined Liverpool, so Konate will be looking for more regular involvement once his reported £35,000,000 transfer to Anfield is complete.
Defensive reinforcement is something Jurgen Klopp has needed rather badly during this past season. The third-place Premier League finish recorded by the Reds shouldn’t detract from that fact. Injuries to Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk ruined any bid of retaining the title with the lessons of Manchester City not replacing Vincent Kompany taught once again.
Gomez is certainly young enough to come back stronger from his time on the sidelines. Van Dijk turns 30 this summer, however, and missed almost a year of his prime. Quick fixes never felt like an approach that was being taken at Anfield in their absence, though.
Ozan Kabak came in on loan from Schalke, duly relegated without him, on the recommendation of Klopp’s former loyal lieutenant David Wagner but there is no indication of a permanent switch for the Turkey centre back on the cards. Kabak has been spotted moving out of his on Merseyside, the biggest clue yet that his long-term future lies elsewhere.
Such injuries and turmoil in defence would have wrecked the title defence of any team. That Liverpool have moved so quickly during the close season to try and rectify the lack of depth beyond Gomez and Van Dijk shows a shift in attitude from the winter window.
If Konate proves to be a hit in the Premier League, and the injured pair come back strong, then many a soccer prediction about next season expects the Reds to give a much better account of themselves. Expert picks highlight potential value in the 11/2 about Klopp’s crew regaining the title in the upcoming campaign.
Liverpool may also lose out of contract Netherlands midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, but had to cope for large parts of the season without club captain Jordan Henderson in the engine room. Fewer players on the treatment table give hope of a renewed title at trophies in the 2021-22 campaign.