Who is Ibrahima Konate?- Liverpool’s Uncomplicated Center Back Intrigue

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Ibrahima Konate
SINSHEIM, GERMANY - DECEMBER 16: Ibrahima Konate of RB Leipzig in action during the Bundesliga match between TSG Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig at PreZero-Arena on December 16, 2020 in Sinsheim, Germany. (Photo by Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Getty Images)

Ibrahima Konate has piqued the interest of Liverpool Football Club and is considered “the new Virgil Van Dijk”. This is an incredible and honored comparison, however, Konate comes with a worrying injury record. The current RB Leipzig center back play’s for France U-21 and has reportedly completed a medical in Paris amidst an anticipated summer move.

Although having suffered an already disappointing season, Liverpool is doing quite well in the Champions League and faces Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League’s Quarterfinals. Their chances of competing next season may very much fall on to the hopes of them winning this year’s Champions League. The idea of them not being in the competition next year is almost unreal, and apart from not being amongst Europe’s elite, they face severe financial ramifications for missing out.

With the summer approaching fast, Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool look to rejuvenating a squad that clearly lacks inspiration, energy, and new blood. The key to this is finding replacements for departing players like Gini Wijnaldum and Divock Origi, amongst others. They also will look to bring in younger players as regulars into the squad and breathe new energy and vigor into the midfield and attacking positions.

However, the one place that requires urgent attention is the center back position, and with Van Dijk, Joe Gomez, and Joel Matip expected to be at the club next year, Klopp will need to figure out whether or not to make the loan deal for Ozan Kabak permanent. The deal for Konate is an interesting one because he is one of Europe’s young prospects and will fit into Van Dijk’s partnership for years to come.

Ibrahima Konate- The Stats

The young French center back looks to be priced at around $46 Million and will look to move as he hasn’t gained the favor of current Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann and will want to play regularly. ESPN reported that Michael Edwards has had Ibrahima Konate on his radar for years, and now isn’t the only club seeking the young center back.

Ibrahima Konate is incredibly gifted in aerial duels and shows no significantly apparent weaknesses. He is pacey, sharp on the ball, and has an eye for a pass. An almost carbon copy of Virgil Van Dijk. He has a 6.58 average rating and an 80% passing success rate. He has won 85.7% of his aerial battles this season, something they’ve lacked this season.

Konate has won 44 tackles this season, and only committed 6 fouls. He is comfortable playing out of defense with the ball and isn’t afraid to go in for a clean tackle. This trait made him catch the eye of Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski, a mighty compliment indeed.

After making 43 appearances in 2018/19, the French under-21 international only made 11 last season and has 15 (with just nine starts) so far in 2020/21. That has to be an area of concern for Jurgen Klopp. However, he is still young and Liverpool’s medical team will need to manage the Frenchman carefully.

Ibrahima Konate- What does he bring to Liverpool?

Ozan Kabak has made a successful start to his loan spell at Liverpool FC, and they might have to choose between him and Ibrahima Konate. Should Joel Matip stay on next year, and the January arrival of Ben Davies as well means that those two will fight for 3rd and 4th place alternatives. Ozan Kabak or Ibrahima Konate will have to compete with Joe Gomez to partner Virgil Van Dijk. We already know what Ozan Kabak brings to the table, let’s focus on Konate.

Liverpool FC play a high line in defense and often play air balls over the top to their front men. Although Kabak doesn’t possess the same pace, he is fairly comfortable in aerial battles. Ibrahima Konate however is pacey as a speedster. This allows the Liverpool defense to play a high line without worrying about balls being played behind them, he also has the ability to compete aerially.

Ibrahima Konate loves a short pass, and is accurate as well as confident on the ball. He brings calmness and positivity to their play, but also lots of confidence to the entire team and this helps them play more attacking and free flow, a style that made them Europe’s most feared team.

If Liverpool can snatch Ibrahima Konate before the summer break, they would be allowed to focus their attention on other aspects of the team, hopefully looking to offload a few players and bring in one or two attackers to provide cover for Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah.

Liverpool will try to put this year behind them and look to the future. Reports have stated that Liverpool chiefs have agreed to back Jurgen Klopp financially in the summer and allow him to rebuild the team. For a disappointing season, Liverpool fans will be somewhat hopeful of what is to come, and with the form of Diogo Jota, Thiago, and both center backs returning from injury, their push in the final half of the season could be a lot better than the first.

Major rumors are circling around elite strikers like Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappé, with most of Europe’s giants circling like sharks. Man City’s Sergio Aguero is set to leave the club in the summer, which opens the door for a major transfer battle- one not many clubs can compete against.

Real Madrid is looking to gain the favor of Kylian Mbappé but unfortunately doesn’t have the financial power to compete in the transfer market like before. Liverpool is the second club that Mbappé has shown interest in but might have to dig deep to match the large transfer tag that comes with the French superstar.

Where do you think Liverpool end of the season? How much of an impact do you think Ibrahima Konate will have on Liverpool next season? Write your thoughts below.


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