Liverpool hold an interest in both Ibrahima Konaté and Dayot Upamecano according to reports.
Reliable German journalist Christian Falk has announced that the Reds are monitoring both of RB Leipzig’s centre backs ahead of a potential swoop this summer.
But Liverpool are not the only club keeping tabs on Upamecano with the 22-year-old French defender also being considered by Chelsea and Bayern Munich.
It’s no secret that Leipzig are likely to let Upamecano leave this summer with clubs across Europe well aware of his €42million release clause. As per our report earlier this month, the Reds were told by Leipzig that he would not be allowed to leave the club in this window but will almost certainly depart come the summer.
As for Konaté, this is not the first time the club’s interest in the Frenchman has been reported.
And he certainly seems to fit Liverpool’s model when it comes to recruitment. Aged just 21, he’s made an impressive impact at Leipzig since joining the Germans in 2017 and in the last couple of years has formed a formidable partnership with Upamecano which has led to the team leapfrogging Borussia Dortmund as Bayern Munich’s main rivals.
FSG’s recruitment model places a big focus on signing young, up-and-coming talents and moulding them into the best in the world in their position and both Leipzig centre backs fit the bill.
Where Konaté may have the edge over Upamecano is his height. Liverpool like their centre backs to dominate aerial duels and at 6’3 this is something he is certainly capable of. And the stats back it up too.
Perhaps the biggest sticking point with any deal for Konaté is the price. Unlike Upamecano it’s unclear whether he has a release clause and is sure to command a premium. Especially if Upamecano also departs.
However, Leipzig are unlikely to want to sell to a German rival and with Bayern sniffing around Upamecano, being a foreign club could give Liverpool the edge.
Liverpool’s problems at centre back this season have been well-documented thanks to the high-profile and long-term injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
That has left the Reds perilously short at the back often having to rely on Fabinho as a makeshift centre back alongside the injury-prone Joel Matip, or inexperienced Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams.
This has made signing a centre back in the summer a priority with a capital P. Liverpool, Michael Edwards and FSG have a reputation for only signing long-term options when it comes to recruitment and not quick fixes.
One of the best examples for this was when Liverpool last wanted a centre back and were willing to wait six months to sign Virgil van Dijk despite looking shaky at the back.
But this is not a normal season or situation. While both Konaté and Upamecano are fantastic prospects and would be fantastic additions should either join in the summer, they really need to recruit now as well.
Even if’s just a stop-gap until getting their main man in six months time. There is a lot of football left to be played and the league looks tighter than it has been for years.
With Manchester United finding their form, Manchester City quietly chipping away at the lead at the top and the Reds struggling for form, a centre back acquisition now would give the side a real boost.
With Real Madrid looking to offload Eder Militao on loan for a small fee and no obligation to buy it seems like a no brainer for Liverpool. In recent weeks they’ve looked sloppy, pedestrian and vulnerable. Traits you wouldn’t associate with the club for two or three years.
Liverpool fans everywhere will be hoping the club spring a surprise in the last few weeks of the January transfer window. If they don’t the club may well be sacrificing the title to the red or blue of Manchester.