Nat Phillips can feel good about Liverpool’s latest transfer news. The Reds reportedly want a new defender.
It appears that Liverpool are close to signing Ibrahima Konate. That’s according to the Athletic.
They’d have to pay around £35m to get the deal done but the report believes Liverpool are finalising things. That would secure them a very talented young centre-back.
Konate is only 21, after all, but has Bundesliga and Champions League experience. That makes him a player who’s not only ready to go, but has enormous room to grow.
Stick him alongside Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip and you might just see all of that potential.
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But £35m doesn’t really feel like all that much for such a player. So what’s the catch?
Well, as we’ve been saying for a little while, Konate is injury prone. Very injury prone, actually.
Liverpool must hope it’s ‘just a phase’ and that he’ll overcome these problems. Either way, it is a risk.
And that’s why we think this transfer is actually good news for Nat Phillips.
Van Dijk, Gomez and Matip will all return next season. All three will be coming off serious injuries, however, which casts some doubt on their reliability.
Gomez and Matip are the biggest concerns – they’ve both had long-term injury problems before.
Add Konate to that group and you have a wonderfully talented selection of centre-backs. You also have the least-reliable selection of centre-backs imaginable.
So we find it impossible to imagine that there won’t be a fifth option. That will surely be Phillips, who’s both playing well and is already at the club permanently.
Ozan Kabak, for instance, would require an £18m payment. We’re not sure Liverpool would do that for a fifth-choice player.
Phillips, though, would be free cover, who has experience playing for the Reds in both the Premier League and Champions League. Which so many injury-prone players, he’ll surely have a place next season.