Dayot Upamecano is the Leipzig centre half most often linked—but the Reds’ real top target may be Ibrahima Konaté.
Liverpool fans have been told that the club are tracking a top centre half signing but that despite their defensive injury crisis it will have to wait until summer. The club have also regularly been linked with RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano.
However, according to The New York Times’ Rory Smith—a journalist who in the past at least had reliable sources inside the club—it might not be Upamecano but rather his Leipzig teammate Ibrahima Konaté who the Reds intend to sign.
Smith was appearing on The Guardian’s Football Weekly podcast when he said that he expects Liverpool to sign a centre half they’ll face in the Champions League round of 16 when they play Leipzig—but that it won’t be Upamecano.
While Leipzig do have a few solid defenders who aren’t Upamecano to choose from, the only one the Reds would conceivably wait on would Konaté, a highly-rated French U21 international who is half a year younger than Upamecano.
After starting the season on the injured list, the 21-year-old Konaté came off the bench in Leipzig’s first European game and started the next five. He also played six of nine league games after his return—before picking up a second knock.
Currently, he remains out of action with an ankle injury after missing the end of last season and start of this one with a hip flexor. Before that, starting in October of 2019, he missed more than 200 days due to torn muscle fibres in his leg.
It’s a worrying injury record, but Konaté’s talent when fit—not to mention that he cuts an imposing, Virgil van Dijk-sized figure—is inarguable. If in fact he is the centre half the Reds are waiting on, hopefully he can improve that injury record.