Liverpool are to permanently land a centre-back this summer and are said to have drawn up a five-man shortlist which includes Ozan Kabak and Ibrahima Konate.
It comes after news broke on Monday morning that the Reds were closing in on a deal for RB Leipzig’s Konate, with his release clause sitting in the region of £34.2 million.
The 21-year-old has been linked to Liverpool for some time and is seen as a centre-back with an incredibly high ceiling, fitting the brief as a long-term option at Anfield.
And while the Athletic’s David Ornstein has reported “the situation is already said to be at an advanced stage”, others are pushing the emergence of a ‘five-man centre-back shortlist’.
The Liverpool Echo is one such local source that state club “sources are remaining tight-lipped” over how close they are to finalising a deal with Konate.
But the Frenchman was acknowledged as a potential target among four others, including Kabak who will be available on a permanent deal worth £18m in the summer.
It remains to be seen, however, if Liverpool would trigger Kabak’s purchase clause in addition to signing another centre-back this summer. It would prove smart business for the long-term, however, with the Turk having only just turned 21.
The three other centre-backs on the list were not disclosed but Marseille’s Duje Caleta-Car could certainly be named with the Reds having expressed interest on deadline day, while Sven Botman and David Carmo have been linked with the club.
With it clear that the Reds are intent on boosting their centre-back ranks this summer, the emergence of a ‘five-man list’ after the Konate news broke could very well be a negotiating tactic.
With a release clause there to be triggered, it would not necessarily be with Leipzig themselves rather with the France youth international as they look to show there are alternative options they could pursue if terms cannot be agreed between parties.
Any way you look at it, it is a welcome boost as Liverpool look to boost their options at the back after a season that has been defined by injuries in the position.