Liverpool, like Man City before them, are responding to the centerback depth that cost them dearly in a Premier League title defense.
The Reds have triggered the young defender’s $50 million release clause at RB Leipzig and added him to the fold, with Jurgen Klopp delivering an especially long release of quotes celebrating the back.
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A French U-21 international, Konate ironically also struggled with injury this season. He was limited to under 1,300 minutes after missing eight months of the 2019-20 season with a torn muscle, but still has 95 appearances for Leipzig at his young age.
Konate turned 22 earlier this week.
“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,” Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com, citing Leipzig as a team that plays similar to the Reds (Full quotes here).
“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.”
Konate joins Joel Matip, Joe Gomez, and Ben Davies on long-term contracts. Virgil van Dijk and Nathaniel Phillips have contracts through the 2022-23 season, and Rhys Williams and Sepp van den Berg in the pipeline.
So, yeah, depth.
Liverpool is back spending, to be sure. The Reds spent $400 million in 2017-18 and 2018-19, although there was a $150 or sale of Philippe Coutinho to offset that.
They then spent nearly nothing for a season. but bought $49 million Diogo Jota, $24 million Thiago Alcantara, and $14 million Kostas Tsimikas last summer.