Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp believes The Reds have signed a centre-back with “massive potential” in Ibrahima Konaté.
Konaté, 22, joins from Bundesliga side RB Leipzig after Liverpool triggered his release clause of around £35 million. The 6’4″ defender is currently with the French U21 squad as they prepare to face the Netherlands in the UEFA Euro 2021 U21 quarter-finals on Monday evening. He will officially become a Liverpool player on July 1st.
Speaking to Liverpoolfc.com about the signing of Konaté, Klopp said:
“I’m really pleased we’ve been able to add a player of Ibrahima’s quality to our squad and he is someone I’ve admired for a long time, ever since I first became aware of his potential when he was at Sochaux.
“After the problems we had with injuries in the centre-half position last season, there’s no doubt it was clear it was an area of the team we needed to strengthen – but I first have to say that the job Nat, Rhys and Ozan did was incredible. Unbelievable really.
“In Ibrahima, we are signing a player who will add to the quality we already have here. His physical attributes are very impressive; he is quick, he is very strong and he is dominant in the air.
“He comes to us after playing more than 90 times for Leipzig in the Bundesliga and European football. I’m sure that number would have been more but for some injury, but even so, that means he already has experience of what it takes to compete in two outstandingly difficult competitions.
“He also played for a team in the Champions League in high-pressure matches, who have a similar football vision to ourselves.
“I am confident we are signing a player who can play for us right away, but he is a boy of 22 years of age who has room to improve because of his massive potential. I know that’s something he is eager to work on with us to become an even better player.
“For me, that’s really exciting because I have seen how good he is already and I’m looking forward to working with him when he joins up with us in pre-season.”
With the news that Liverpool will not be taking up the option to sign Ozan Kabak on a permanent transfer this summer, it means The Reds’ senior centre-backs will be Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joël Matip, and Konaté. Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams will be next down the pecking order.
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