Ibrahima Konate: Liverpool trigger £36m release clause for RB Leipzig defender and hope to finalise deal in next few days

Liverpool have triggered Ibrahima Konate’s £36m release clause and hope to finalise a deal for the RB Leipzig defender in the next few days.

Discussions are under way between Liverpool and Leipzig for the 22-year-old centre-back.

Konate made 21 appearances for Leipzig this season, including eight Bundesliga starts as the club finished second – 13 points behind champions Bayern Munich.

The France U21 international would boost Jurgen Klopp’s defensive options, with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all hoping to return for the start of next season after missing the majority of the 2020-21 campaign through injury.

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The injuries saw Fabinho and Jordan Henderson at times deployed at centre-back, while Nathaniel Phillips and Rhys Williams were the defensive pairing at the tail-end of the season as Liverpool secured a top-four place and Champions League football next year.

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Liverpool had signed Ben Davies permanently and Ozan Kabak on loan from Schalke as defensive cover in January.

Davies is yet to make his Liverpool debut, he was an unused substitute eight times, while Kabak made 13 appearances but looks set to return to Germany despite the club having the option to buy the 21-year-old this summer.

At Leipzig, Bayern-bound Dayot Upamecano and Willi Orban played most of the season at centre-back, while Konate suffered an ankle injury in December which kept him out for two months.

Upon his return, Konate – whose contract was due to expire in June 2023 – remained an unused substitute in both of Leipzig’s Champions League last-16 matches against Liverpool.

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