Monday, October 18, 2021

Klopp’s Liverpool signing held spring transfer talks with Man Utd

New Liverpool signing Ibrahima Konate was reportedly on Arsenal and Manchester United’s shortlist prior to him moving to Anfield this summer.

The £36m signing from RB Leipzig has been thrown into the action this week by Jurgen Klopp. Konate was handed his debut in last weekend’s win over Crystal Palace. And he was afforded the chance to follow that up with another solid 90 minutes in the cup win over Norwich.

His performance at Carrow Road was solid if unspectacular, while his display against Palace was appreciated by Klopp.

“You can see he is incredibly talented. The potential is outstanding,” Klopp said on Saturday.

“He is used to winning challenges easy. He is young and he played a really good game. Massive. First home game for him.”

Konate has already seen two defensive partners, with Virgil van Dijk his sidekick at the weekend before the returning Joe Gomez got the nod in the Carabao Cup.

But it could have been a different story had Arsenal and Manchester United followed up their interest.

After his move to Leipzig from Sochaux at 18 years old, Konate’s name was quickly on the radar of clubs in England.

In fact just months before Liverpool sealed a move for Konate, Bild confirmed he was one of two RB Leipzig players on Arsenal’s wanted list.

Konate and attacking midfielder Christopher Nkunku were both understood to be targets for Mikel Arteta.

Manchester United had already lodged their interest at the start of 2021. They were looking for a long-term partner for Harry Maguire.

Le10 Sport reported that United held talks with Konate’s agent to discuss his availability. In fact the outlet suggested that United were preparing a summer offer for the 22-year-old.

The Independent claimed Konate was at the top of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s defensive target list. The paper also acknowledged rival interest from Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal.

United instead switched targets to Raphael Varane though and pushed through a deal for the Real Madrid man later in the summer.

Arsenal instead went for England man Ben White, while Chelsea remain in the market for a centre-back.

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