Liverpool blow? Ibrahima Konate confirms intention to see out Leipzig contract
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RB Leipzig star Ibrahima Konate has moved to definitively shut down suggestions that he is on the brink of a move to Liverpool.
Central defender Konate’s name has of course taken centre stage in the transfer market over recent weeks.
This comes amid widespread claims that Premier League champions Liverpool are readying a summer assault for the 21-year-old.
The heart of the club’s backline has proven a major problem area for the Reds to this point in the campaign, amid a host of long-term injury problems.
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 17: (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT )Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool collides with Everton’s goalkeeper Jordan Pickford during the Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park on October 17, 2020 in Liverpool, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
And Konate, in turn, appears to have been identified as the kind of player ready to step into Jurgen Klopp’s ranks for years to come.
Late last month, the reliable David Ornstein of The Athletic went as far as to claim that the transfer chiefs on the red half of Merseyside were working towards ‘finalising’ a deal for the Frenchman.
This comes with Konate’s RB Leipzig contract containing a release clause worth just €40m.
🚨 Exclusive: Liverpool working to finalise deal for Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig. Not done but significant progress made + #LFC pursuit of 21yo French centre-back now advanced. Likely his ~€40m release clause will need paying @TheAthleticUK #RBLeipzig https://t.co/GIdqf6yMXN
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) March 29, 2021
‘Contracts are to be fulfilled’
As outlined above, though, whilst all signs appear to point towards an imminent Anfield switch for the stopper, Konate himself simply refuses to even entertain the subject.
First, when drawn on the speculation surrounding his name whilst on international duty with France’s U21s, the Leipzig star appeared genuinely angered, in explaining:
‘Frankly, I don’t even watch this [speculation]. We can’t focus on that, there are the Euros and then my return to the club.’
‘You have to focus on that and not on the external things.’
LEIPZIG, SAXONY – JANUARY 19: Ibrahima Konate of Leipzig during the Bundesliga match between RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund at Red Bull Arena on January 19, 2019 in Leipzig, Germany. (Photo by Karina Hessland/Bongarts/Getty Images)
And, when pressed further on the subject earlier today, Konate remained absolutely resolute in his stance.
Speaking in an interview with German outlet Bild, the 21-year-old first made crystal clear clear his intention to see out the remaining two years of his current deal with Leipzig, before insisting that he has never been contacted by Liverpool:
‘I have a contract until 2023. And contracts are there to be fulfilled.’
‘There are often rumours in football and many believe them immediately.’
‘Neither I nor my agents got a call from Liverpool. I also have big goals with RB Leipzig. These are currently achieving the best possible finish in the Bundesliga, reaching the cup final and the U21 European Championship with France.’
When pressed on potentially acting as the successor to Bayern Munich-bound Dayot Upamecano at the Red Bull Arena, Konate added:
‘No, I don’t want to be Dayot’s successor. I’m me. We both came to Leipzig in 2017 and played well together here. Unfortunately, our paths are now parting. I’ll leave Dayot to the new job and continue doing my thing here.’