RB Leipzig chief scout Oliver Mintzlaff says that the Bundesliga side is used to losing top players and will rebuild again without any issues when Konate joins Liverpool.
“And we have come back stronger every year and have been able to develop further. And I am also sure that we will take the next step again. We remain ambitious and do not act under pressure here, but self-determined.”
Liverpool beat Manchester United to Konate’s signature and will be strengthened by his arrival this summer. Mike McGrath writes for the Times that Konate’s release clause is higher than originally thought and is in the region of £40million (€46m).
Liverpool are thrilled that they have signed Konate ahead of every other club in Europe, with coaching staff at RB Leipzig convinced the Frenchman will be the best defender in the world one day.
His height combined with his pace means that, physically, there’s very little room for growth and he’ll certainly cope with the physicality of the Premier League. He’s slightly taller than Virgil van Dijk and actually has an even better aerial duel win rate.
It’s going to be fascinating to see how that translates to the Premier League as it’s much more competitive in England. With teams like Burnley to contend with, Konate’s ability in the air will be tested a lot more and his mistakes or shortcomings will be punished more.
While Konate on his own is exciting, I’m really looking forward to seeing how he improves alongside a player like van Dijk and how Jurgen Klopp can take his ground game to a whole new level.
The former Sochaux star can be too passive with his passing and lacks bravery with his pass selection but that will need to change at Liverpool. While we haven’t seen it this term due to Gomez and van Dijk’s respective injuries, defenders play a huge part of the build-up play at Anfield.
Whether it’s a 60-yard diagonal from van Dijk to Mohamed Salah or a fizzing ground pass from Gomez to Roberto Firmino between the lines, Klopp trusts his defenders to take on the role of the quarterback.
It takes the pressure off the Reds’ central midfielders and allows them to take positions higher up the pitch. In turn, this allows Liverpool to choke opposition sides high up the pitch as soon as they lose the ball.
Unless a team is able to play through the press, the ball has to go long at which point it’s easily collected by van Dijk or Gomez.
It’s going to be fascinating to see where Konate fits in. If all his players are fit, Klopp is going to have one hell of a selection dilemma on his hands.