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Opinion: Liverpool take risk with Ibrahima Konate deal - he must be special

Ibrahima Konate must be a very special player judging by the deal Liverpool reportedly struck. The Reds made the summer harder for themsevles.

Liverpool needed a centre-back this summer. They couldn’t risk a repeat of the last campaign, after all, where Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip were all out injured.

For one, those serious injuries increase the chances of it happening again. We don’t yet know what kind of condition the trio will return in.

Thus Liverpool needed someone else, someone who can reliably operate in a title-challenging defence. On top of that, they needed a young player – Van Dijk and Matip both turn 30 this summer.

Liverpool settled on Ibrahima Konate and completed a deal for the player this week. He’ll join for next season and there’s quite a bit of hype around him.

Konate only turned 22 on May 25th, for one, yet he’s proven at both Bundesliga and Champions League level. Develop him correctly and you’re looking at a potential superstar at the back.

But despite his obvious talent, and despite the need for a centre-back, Liverpool have taken an almighty risk with this one. Konate must be quite special to do so.

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Liverpool take risk with Konate deal

The Liverpool Echo says the Reds paid Konate’s £36m release clause upfront and in full. There was no successful negotiation with RB Leipzig to change that.

As the report points out, they managed to sign both Diogo Jota and Thiago last summer on structured deals. They only paid 10% of Jota’s £41m fee upfront, for instance, and spread the rest of the payments over his contract.

But with Konate, it’s one lump sum. And that will affect transfer plans this summer.

After all, you could theoretically do three Jota-like deals for the Konate money. That’s three very talented, potentially key players coming in.

Photo by Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Liverpool settled for one, though, and that comes at a time when they do need more players.

Gini Wijnaldum will leave, for instance. That creates some sort of need for a midfielder to come in. Liverpool could really use a new forward, too, after struggling for goals a little in 2021.

And it’s not like Liverpool are flush with cash. Per the Athletic, they’ll have to sell players to buy more this summer – the purse strings are tight.

Yet they were happy to put essentially all of their funds to get Konate signed. It’ll hurt their flexibility in this transfer window but there is at least one positive – Liverpool must believe Konate is a fantastic talent.

There’s no other reason to take this risk with their summer and no other reason to put all of their eggs in the one basket. So while we may moan about a lack of signings this summer – and with good reason – we can at least get very excited about Liverpool’s new Frenchman.

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