Konate expected to kick-start Klopp’s summer rebuild
The 2020/21 English Premier League campaign was a bittersweet one for those loyal to the Anfield club. Supporters were unable to attend last summer’s trophy presentation, missing out on a piece of history. They were then locked out of games for most of the year as their team battled to defend their title from the challenge of Manchester City.
The Reds lead the title race in winter, but several injuries to crucial positions caused Liverpool’s collapse. The strain of pushing for points with two centre backs missing for large parts of the campaign proved too much for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
The title was wrapped up and sent to the Etihad Stadium, but Liverpool fought back to secure a third-place finish and spot in next season’s UEFA competition. They’ll be determined to continue English football’s recent dominance of the competition and make the Champions League final.
£34m needed to sign Frenchman
Before plotting their return to the top of English and European football, Klopp knows he faces a crucial summer rebuilding project. He must splash the cash in the transfer window and strengthen his team. The decorated manager will be keen to strengthen his backline and defend against another injury crisis. Liverpool is in the market for an experienced defender who is good enough to bolster the squad and challenge for a starting slot.
The man believed to be at the top of the transfer wish list is RB Leipzig’s Ibrahima Konate. Liverpool eliminated the Bulls from the Champions League knockout stages this year, but Konate didn’t feature. Followers of the German Bundesliga will know all about the Frenchman’s talents, and at just 22 years old, he has a big future ahead of him. Does that future lie on Merseyside, helping Liverpool challenge for the Premier League title?
If Klopp is to make Konate his first major signing of the summer, he must break out the cheque book as this signature won’t come cheaply. Rumours in both German and UK newspapers report a £34m buyout clause in Ibrahima’s contract. That means any club triggering that value will be free to speak to the young talent about signing.
Time called on Kabak’s stay
The rumour real concerning Liverpool will go into overdrive this summer as the former champions are linked with most major names around Europe. Most stories can be filed under gossip and ignored by fans during what is known in the UK as silly season. One man unlikely to be signed by Klopp permanently is a familiar face in Ozan Kabak.
The Turkey cap was brought to Liverpool by Klopp in the winter transfer window. It was a loan move at first, but the Premier League side held the option to make it permanent this year. That now looks unlikely with Kabak making his way back to parent club Schalke. The £20m rated player is unlikely to hang around in German for too long, however, and it has already been reported he is in talks with other clubs over his next move. Stuttgart would like to draw a line under the matter by finding a permanent buyer happy to cough up the money in one lump sum.
Kabak didn’t impress Klopp or many others during his short stint in England, so a move back to the UK is unlikely. He made less than 15 first-team appearances during his stay on Merseyside, used sparingly by Klopp. He was injured in a draw with Newcastle over a month ago. He’ll now slip out the backdoor at Anfield and finish what has been a forgettable time in his career.
Raphina involved in Liverpool and United tug-of-war
Another name linked to Liverpool is Leeds attacker Raphina who has shown his quality in firing the Elland Road side to a respectable top-10 finish this term. The 24-year-old scored six and chipped in with nine assists, earning rave reviews from pundits during his debut season in the top tier of the game in England.
The Brazilian has already been linked with a money-spinning move to Old Trafford with Red Devils’ boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rumoured to be a fan. That transfer could be hijacked by Klopp, however, as he aims to add weight to his attack, easing the pressure on regular scorers Sadio Mane and Mo Salah.#