James Pearce, Liverpool correspondent for The Athletic, says the club are still to yet finalise their move for RB Leipzig centre-back Ibrahima Konate.
Pearce’s colleague David Ornstein revealed at the end of March that the Reds were closing in on the signing of the 21-year-old defender.
Liverpool have seen their centre-back ranks decimated by injury this season, with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all casualties.
Fabrizio Romano tweeted on 23 April that Liverpool have agreed the terms of Konate’s five-year contract.
He said Liverpool will pay the €35million (£30.5m) release clause and that the deal ‘is set to be completed’.
Would signing Konate for £32m represent a good deal for Liverpool?
Pearce, speaking to fan channel The Redmen TV, said: “It’s still not 100% done because that conversation with Leipzig hasn’t happened yet in terms of either negotiating a fee or just straight up paying his release clause.
“I think there is a realisation that is what has to happen – I don’t really see Leipzig letting him go for anything less than that release clause.”
Could Liverpool box clever here? Having already agreed terms with Konate, they may be able to shave some money off the fee with the club knowing they would otherwise be keeping an unhappy player.
To do that though, they may need to give Leipzig something in return.
Takumi Minamino may be the solution, as the Japanese forward is out of favour at Anfield, hence his loan to Southampton at the end of the January transfer window.
But now Jesse Marsch, who oversaw his development at RB Salzburg, is set to take over at Leipzig.
Marsch has waxed lyrical about Minamino, hailing him as a ‘very clever’ player who ‘understands how to make final plays and tactics’.
A player-plus-cash swap deal may just be feasible.
In other news, could this be Liverpool’s next target?
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