Liverpool have been told that new boy Ibrahima Konate could give them an added bonus when he eventually arrives this summer.
The Reds triggered Konate’s release clause at RB Leipzig of around £36million to make the 22-year-old their first signing of the summer transfer window. Liverpool are now waiting on international clearance, while they are not anticipating any issues with a work permit application.
Konate, who is currently with France preparing for the Under-21 European Championships, will officially join on July 1.
But while the 22-year-old was signed to bolster a Liverpool defence that was hit hard by injuries last season, he could give Jugen Klopp’s squad even more versaility.
Bryan Lasme, a former team-mate and close friend of Konate, has revealed that the player arrived in Sochaux as a midfielder. And it was only at Under-17 level, under coach Eric Hely, that he moved to the back.
“It wasn’t an obvious move, to be honest,” Lasme told Goal. “Because as a midfielder, he was good! He was technical, he was fast, he was strong and he could play.
“He had the qualities you would want in a midfield player.”
Despite Konate’s ability to play further forward, the Reds remain interested in landing a replacement for Gini Wijnaldum.
Borussia Monchengladbach star Florian Neuhaus, along with Brighton’s Yves Bissouma are their main targets.
Thiago wants different midfield role
Meanwhile, Thiago Alcantara has suggested the deeper midfield role he’s been asked to play at Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp was behind the reason for his difficult first season at Anfield.
The Spain international arrived as an exciting signing from then-European champions Bayern Munich last September. Despite an exciting debut away at Chelsea, he encountered a nasty knee injury against Everton in October. That ruled him out until late December and he initially struggled after returning.
Indeed, some pundits criticised him while the likes of Jamie Carragher defended his displays.
Thiago’s struggles came partly because the injuries in Klopp’s team forced him to play a deeper role. As such, he often could not produce his best passing game and drive his team forward.
The 43-cap Spain star, however, could be afforded a more advanced role next season. To that end, it’s claimed Klopp will trial him in the more attacking position during their pre-season preparations.
And that would seemingly be to Thiago’s liking too.
Assessing his first season at Anfield, he suggested to L’Equipe that his deep, creative role did not bring out the best in him.
“I would say it (his ability to create) has been more limited because of a positional issue,” he said, via Sport Witness.
“If I play number 6 instead of number 10, I’ll have less room to manoeuvre, less freedom to dribble. That’s natural as I’ll have to take fewer risks.
“In the history of football, strikers have always been admired more than defenders. Because a defender can’t make a mistake, unlike the striker (who can try harder).
“So, for me, it’s a question of position.”
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