Earlier today, reports emerged claiming Liverpool are close to a deal to sign 21-year-old France and RB Leipzig centre half Ibrahima Konaté, intending to make the player their first big signing of the offseason—likely by triggering his €40M release clause.
Those reports followed on from suggestions back in January that Konaté was Liverpool’s top defensive target for the 2021 offseason, and since today’s initial claims there has been confirmation that Liverpool are at the very least very interested in the player.
“I woke up, I saw my phone ringing all over the place,” was Konaté’s response when asked about it all today during a break in training with France’s national team as they prepare for a World Cup qualifier against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday evening.
“I just wanted to say, hey, I played yesterday—I’m tired, leave me alone! Frankly, I don’t pay any attention [to transfer rumours]. I can’t focus on them. There’s qualifiers and then I return to my club. I have to focus on that and not on any of these external things.”
While words on a screen can at times be difficult to parse, the stories out of France relaying Konaté’s quotes today all refer to the player smiling or laughing as he shrugged off those reports of a nearly done Liverpool deal and tried to keep focus on the present.
France have a win and a draw after their first two World Cup qualifiers, with Ukraine taking an unexpected point off the Group D favourites. They will be expected to easily dispatch Bosnia next, with anything less than three points likely to spark concerns.
Konaté will then return to Leipzig for the remainder of the 2021-22 season, with Die Roten Bullen having closed to just four points back of Bundesliga favourites Bayern Munich in the table with with eight games left to play in Germany’s domestic season.