3 reasons Liverpool may prefer 21-year-old defender over elite £39m teammate
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3 reasons why Liverpool may prefer Ibrahima Konate to Dayot Upamecano

Liverpool reportedly prefer a move for Ibrahima Konate over Dayot Upamecano. We explore three reasons that might be the case.

Journalist Rory Smith heavily hinted that Liverpool want Ibrahima Konate, not Dayot Upamecano, this summer.

“I think Liverpool intend to sign a centre-back in the summer and I think that central defender is probably someone they will play against in the Champions League’s Last 16,” he said on Guardian Football Weekly. “And I don’t think it’s going to be Dayot Upamecano.”

Liverpool face RB Leipzig in the Last 16, while Christian Falk has linked the Reds with Konate before.

Upamecano is certainly the bigger star, making the ESM Team of the Year – so why Liverpool’s mentality? Here are three reasons they may prefer Konate.

Role

Whoever signs Upamecano is getting a first-team defender. Arguably, they’re signing the leader of their defence for the next while.

Liverpool may not want that, however. The plan will certainly be that Virgil van Dijk returns to his place in their defence, while Joe Gomez will surely do the same.

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Really, Liverpool want someone who can come in as third-choice but with room to grow into first-choice over a few years. Konate fits that bill comfortably, given his standing, and is far less likely to command a starting role.

Experience

Upamecano may only be 22 but he’s already pushing towards his fourth season as a regular for RB Leipzig. One was cut short but other than that, the Frenchman is experienced.

But Liverpool might not want that. They don’t need someone to jump in right away, thus a player they can develop themselves could be preferable.

Konate could be that player. Injuries mean his only full season came in 18/19 and he’s far from the finished article.

That might just be what Liverpool want – someone they’re going to mould into the exact player they’re after. Rather than Upamecano, who will be closer to the finished article, even at 22.

Competition

Even if Liverpool wanted Upamecano, there’s far from a guarantee that they’ll get him. Per Kicker, he has a £39m release clause.

In our opinion, he’s the best-value defender you can get right now. But that also means he’ll be incredibly difficult to get.

Everyone will be involved, most notably Bayern Munich (as per that Kicker article).

Photo by Ahmad Mora/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

It could well be, then, that Liverpool don’t like their chances too much and would rather focus elsewhere. After all, you don’t want to put your eggs in that basket only to fail.

Especially as there’s a good chance that other clubs will turn to Konate after failed to sign Upamecano. Only one team is getting the latter.

Liverpool, then, may just prefer to focus on a player they see as theirs if they want him.

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