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Ibrahima Konate to be reunited with ‘surprise’ favourite team-mate at Liverpool

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Ibrahima Konate will be reunited with the player he considered one of the best he has ever played with when his Liverpool move goes through, following him from RB Leipzig.

Konate will become the third player to represent both Liverpool and Leipzig when he completes a £36 million switch to Anfield this summer.

The Frenchman is to become the first signing of the summer for Jurgen Klopp‘s side, and will arrive to bolster a defensive unit plagued by injuries in 2020/21.

He joins with a blossoming reputation despite a hip problem dogging his past year-and-a-half in Germany, having played 95 times for Leipzig following his transfer from Sochaux in 2017.

The 22-year-old will come with strong character references, too, with Klopp ensuring every signing will mesh well with his current squad in terms of their personality.

02 October 2019, Saxony, Leipzig: Soccer: Champions League, Group phase, Group G, 2nd matchday RB Leipzig - Olympique Lyon in the Red Bull Arena. Leipzig's player Ibrahima Konate on the ball. Photo: Jan Woitas/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa

Klopp could even turn to a member of his first team for an opinion on Konate as both a player and a person, with Naby Keita having played alongside the centre-back on 16 occasions during their time together at Leipzig.

If Konate’s praise for Keita in an interview with Oh My Goal last year is anything to go by, there is a real respect between the pair that can be built on at Liverpool.

Asked who the best players who has played alongside during his career so far are, Konate named Keita and another ex-Leipzig star, Timo Werner.

Naby Keita surprised me because of his size,” he explained.

“He wasn’t tall, not muscly, but technically he was a step ahead, and even in passes and duels he surprised me!”

Leipzig's Naby Keita thanks the fans after the German Bundesliga soccer match between RB Leipzig and Werder Bremen at the Red Bull Arena in Leipzig, Germany, 23 October 2016. PHOTO: Jan Woitas/dpa

Konate and Keita started together in the midfielder’s final game for Leipzig, a 6-2 thrashing of Hertha Berlin in 2018, but things have not gone quite as expected for Keita at Liverpool so far.

Having been tipped to take up a key role under Klopp, the Guinean has struggled with countless injury problems, and in three full seasons with the Reds he has played just 76 times, starting only 47 of those.

With two years remaining on his contract a decision may be required on Keita’s future this summer, but all signs indicate he will be given another chance to prove himself.

It could be that he serves as a valuable asset in helping Konate adjust to his new life on Merseyside, though his grasp of English and German should allow him to speak comfortably within the squad.

Whether they are given the chance to play together regularly at Liverpool remains to be seen, but perhaps next term the Kop will be able to finally enjoy the Keita that surprised Konate while they were team-mates at Leipzig.


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