Jamie Carragher says Ibrahima Konate ‘looks massive’ when you first see him. The Liverpool legend gave his first thoughts on the Reds’ new signing.
Ibrahima Konate will play for Liverpool next season. The Reds paid a reported £36m to pull him away from RB Leipzig, striking a potential bargain with his release clause.
Liverpool needed a new centre-back, of course. Injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip seriously derailed their season, effectively ending any title aspirations.
On top of that, both Van Dijk and Matip turn 30 this summer. There’s a need for not just reinforcements but an investment in the next generation.
Konate fits the bill wonderfully. He’s already experienced in both the Bundesliga and Champions League, meaning Liverpool can trust him to deliver right away.
But the Frenchman also turned 22 just two weeks ago. He’s still a very young player and one who should develop into something special over the next few years.
Konate feels like a special signing, then. But just how good can he be?
Carragher on Konate
Jamie Carragher, a wonderfully successful Liverpool centre-back in his own right, gave his first impressions of Konate to the Liverpool Echo. It’s safe to say one thing stands out above all.
“I’ve seen snippets of him in the Champions League, obviously last season when Leipzig did really well,” said Carragher.
“I watched him this season and I watched him a few days ago for France [U21s] and he just looks massive.
“He’s big and I like the size of him, he looks like he can cover the ground, he’s got big long strides when I was watching him play and he looks a huge presence and you just trust Liverpool with signings, you just do now.”
Konate is massive. He’s roughly the same height as Virgil van Dijk, for instance, and that kind of presence is hard to find at the top level.
How many players are both ‘massive’ and competent defenders? Not many. Even fewer can add being decent on the ball. And even fewer still are actually athletic on top of it all.
Van Dijk can do it all, though, and the hope will be that Konate follows in his footsteps. That’s surely the plan here – that the player is Van Dijk’s long-term replacement.
He certainly ticks all of the boxes so far. Give him a few years under Jurgen Klopp and maybe we’re looking at Van Dijk 2.0.