With injuries undermining Liverpool’s attempts to defend their first domestic title of the Premier League era this season, there is a widespread belief that reinforcements will be needed in the summer—especially at centre half, the hardest hit position.
On that front, over the past few months it has appeared increasingly likely the club will sign Ibrahima Konaté from RB Leipzig by triggering the 21-year-old’s £40M release clause. For Liverpool and the club’s fans, this is positive news. For Leipzig, it’s worrying.
There is already public confirmation Leipzig will lose Dayot Upamecano and manager Julian Nagelsmann to rivals Bayern Munich in the summer, as the German giants seek to once again strip-mine a challenger and maintain their Bundesliga dominance.
The departure of Konaté would only add to the blow, even if at least for Leipzig he wouldn’t be joining a league rival. It’s a situation, the coming loss of Konaté and Upamecano and Nagelsmann, that the club’s sporting director was asked about this week.
“In the past we have always had changes on the coach, director, and player side and we have come back stronger every year,” Oliver Mintzlaff told BILD. “So I am sure that we will take the next step again. We remain ambitious and we are determined.
“With [Joško] Gvardiol, [Mohamed] Simakan, and [Brian] Brobbey we already have three permanent newcomers. If we add [Dominik] Szoboszlai and [Konrad] Laimer, who haven’t played a minute this season, we’re talking about five strong newcomers.
“We are therefore in a comfortable situation because we believe we have made the squad even better—and will further add to it in the summer. Now we’re looking ahead at new solutions. With the additions we will have a strong squad for the new season.”
Meanwhile for Liverpool, if the Konaté deal goes through as expected it will give the Reds arguably the best defensive core not just in England but in Europe—the only question will be whether their new signing and the returning injured players can stay fit.