Report: Liverpool finalizing deal for RB Leipzig defender Konate
Matthew Peters / Manchester United / Getty

Liverpool aren't done reinforcing their injury-ravaged defense.

After acquiring little-known Ben Davies from the Championship and Ozan Kabak from Schalke in the January transfer window, the Reds are now close to signing promising RB Leipzig center-back Ibrahima Konate, sources told The Athletic's David Ornstein.

Liverpool could simply activate Konate's €40-million release clause, but talks are apparently ongoing to strike a deal.

Negotiations are already at an advanced stage, according to Ornstein.

Konate, a 21-year-old Frenchman who joined Leipzig from Sochaux in 2017, is considered one of the top prospects in his class. However, a series of injuries hampered his play over the past two years. Konate missed the majority of the 2019-20 campaign with a torn muscle fibre in his right leg and an additional two months this season with an ankle injury.

Liverpool's center-backs have had injury troubles of their own. Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez suffered season-ending injuries early on, and Joel Matip subsequently joined them on the sidelines in January. Even midfielders Jordan Henderson and Fabinho, who both covered for their teammates at the center-back position, missed time with various issues.

In a shocking development, the Premier League giants signed Davies from Preston North End and Kabak on transfer deadline day. But neither have made an impact so far: Davies has yet to play, and Kabak is still adapting after leaving a messy situation at relegation-threatened Schalke.

Jurgen Klopp's side honed in on Konate after being linked with his teammate, Dayot Upamecano, who opted to join Bayern Munich in the summer.

Known as one of the shrewdest operators in the transfer market, Leipzig laid the foundations for their replacements well in advance. The Bundesliga upstarts announced the signing of 20-year-old center-back Mohamed Simakan from Strasbourg last week; in September, they locked up 18-year-old Dinamo Zagreb defender Josko Gvardiol.

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Report: Liverpool finalizing deal for RB Leipzig defender Konate
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