Liverpool are reportedly close to completing their first signing of the summer. Jurgen Klopp is prioritising his defence after seeing injuries to his defenders derail the Reds' title defence this past season.
Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomes missed almost the entire campaign, having picked up season ending injuries very early into the 2020-21 season. Klopp's makeshift back line was unable to help defend their Premier League crown, which was claimed by Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.
Klopp has made strengthening his defence a priority and according to Italian transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, the Anfield club is close to confirming a deal. Red Bull Leipzig star Ibrahima Konate was identified as the ideal candidate and is said to have agreed personal terms on a contract until the summer of 2026.
"Liverpool will complete the signing of Ibrahima Konaté from RB Leipzig, confirmed. He'll join LFC soon. Personal terms agreed since April until June 2026," Romano wrote on Twitter.
The 22-year-old made 14 appearances for Leipzig in the Bundesliga this season. The France U21 international played a key role in helping the German team to second place in the league and to the final of the DFB Pokal Cup, which they lost against Borussia Dortmund.
Konate has been on the radar of a number of clubs including Chelsea, but Liverpool are said to have won the race for his signature. The Merseyside club are said to have agreed to pay around £34 million for his services ahead of the summer transfer window.
Meanwhile, Klopp is also searching for a replacement for midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, who will leave Liverpool this summer. The Dutch midfielder has been a key member of the Liverpool squad that won the Premier League and Champions League in recent seasons.
Wijnaldum decided against renewing his deal with the Merseyside club after having spent five successful seasons at Anfield. He is being touted to join either Bayern Munich or Barcelona on a free transfer this summer.
Liverpool are said to have identified Brighton and Hove Albion's Mali international Yves Bissouma as one of the candidates that can fill Wijnaldum's boots. According to the Times, Klopp has delved deep to understand the Malian midfielder – not only his performances on the pitch but also his behaviour off it – to see if he fits the profile of players at Liverpool.
Moreover, Brighton are said to be willing to sanction the move if interested clubs meet their £30 million valuation of the midfielder. In what will be a boost to Liverpool, the fee now quoted is £10 million lower than their previous valuation.
However, the Reds will not have it easy as Arsenal are also said to be monitoring the situation. Mikel Arteta is keen to sign a long-term partner for Thomas Partey. The Gunners have a slight advantage in the race for Bissouma, as the Mali international is said to be close friends with former Lille teammates Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel Magalhaes, who currently ply their trade at the Emirates Stadium.