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Liverpool sign Konate from RB Leipzig

Liverpool have announced the signing of RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate after triggering his €41.5 million release clause.

Sources had told ESPN that Konate was set to become the club’s first major arrival of the summer and manager Jurgen 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.”

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“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 [Philips], Rhys [Williams] and Ozan [Kabak] 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.”

Liverpool secured Champions League participation on the final day of the Premier League season, which allowed them to activate the €41.5m release clause in the former Sochaux player’s contract.

The club will have to pay the release clause in one installment.

“I’m really happy to be joining such a massive club like Liverpool,” Konate said.

“It’s a really exciting moment for me and my family and I am really looking forward to meeting my new teammates, the staff and getting started on this new chapter.

“Right now, my focus is on the Under-21 European Championships with France, but after this competition I know I will be joining one of the best teams in the world and that gives me a great feeling.

“I have worked very hard for many years to get to this point, but I would like to say a big thank you to everyone at RB Leipzig and all the people I worked with there — the coaches, my teammates, the staff and especially the fans.”

Konate, who celebrated his 22nd birthday on Tuesday, was identified a long time ago when he was still in France by the Liverpool scouting department who then followed his progress.

Klopp added: “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.”

Jurgen Klopp’s side experienced an injury crisis in defence last season with Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip missing a large part of the campaign.

Konate’s arrival will boost Klopp’s backline, while sources also told ESPN that Liverpool are willing to listen to offers for Nathaniel Phillips this summer and Rhys Williams could leave on loan.



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