After making him his first summer signing, Jurgen Klopp says he has been tracking Ibrahima Konate since he was at Sochaux in 2017.
A deal to sign the Frenchman was announced on Friday afternoon, sending Liverpool fans on social media into a frenzy. The Reds have paid £36million to RB Leipzig and will pay the player himself £18.2million over the next five years, a source close to Anfield Central told us.
Injuries to centre-backs have been a massive issue for the German manager this season as every player he has played at the heart of the Reds defence succumbing to at least one injury, including Nathaniel Phillips, Ozan Kabak and Rhys Williams.
Speaking to Liverpoolfc.com about Konate, Klopp said: “I’m really pleased we’ve been able to add a player of Ibrahima’s quality to our squad and he is someone I’ve admired for a long time, ever since I first became aware of his potential when he was at Sochaux.
“After the problems we had with injuries in the centre-half position last season, there’s no doubt it was clear it was an area of the team we needed to strengthen – but I first have to say that the job Nat, Rhys and Ozan did was incredible. Unbelievable really.
“In Ibrahima, we are signing a player who will add to the quality we already have here. His physical attributes are very impressive; he is quick, he is very strong and he is dominant in the air.
“He comes to us after playing more than 90 times for Leipzig in the Bundesliga and European football. I’m sure that number would have been more but for some injury, but even so that means he already has experience of what it takes to compete in two outstandingly difficult competitions.
“He also played for a team in the Champions League in high-pressure matches, who have a similar football vision to ourselves.
“I am confident we are signing a player who can play for us right away, but he is a boy of 22 years of age who has room to improve because of his massive potential. I know that’s something he is eager to work on with us to become an even better player.
“For me, that’s really exciting because I have seen how good he is already and I’m looking forward to working with him when he joins up with us in pre-season.”