Manu Kone, one of the midfielders on Liverpool’s radar this summer, found his third outing at the U21 Euros blighted by a knee injury on Wednesday.
The 22-year-old is among those being considered for a move to Anfield, with Jurgen Klopp still expected to add two more midfielders to his ranks.
But Liverpool’s recruitment process has been stalled as the majority of their targets are in action at the U21 Euros in Georgia and Romania.
Khephren Thuram, Ryan Gravenberch, Gabri Veiga and centre-back Micky van de Ven are among those to have been involved along with Kone, while Romeo Lavia was forced to pull out due to injury.
It has led to frustration among supporters, but a development in France’s 4-1 win over Switzerland on Wednesday gave an indication of why the club is being patient.
#LFC target Manu Kone left the stadium on crutches after suffering a knee injury with the France U21s.
Yet to discover the extent of the injury after being subbed off in 19th minute. pic.twitter.com/pWFgZCF4EW
— Jack Lusby (@LusbyJack) June 28, 2023
Kone made his second start of the tournament alongside Thuram in midfield, but an early blow to his right knee saw him forced off after 19 minutes.
The Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder attempted to play on but was unable to support himself, with Enzo le Fee taking his place as France booked their spot in the quarter-finals.
He was then pictured departing the stadium on crutches, with L’Equipe reporting that Kone will undergo medical checks on Thursday.
The extent of his injury remains unclear, though he was part of the celebrations in the dressing room after France set up a knockout clash with Ukraine.
If it is a serious issue, there is a strong chance that Liverpool would reconsider a move for Kone in this transfer window.
While there will be a longer-term view when it comes to any targets this summer, the club simply cannot take risks with their signings as Klopp oversees a rebuild.
In theory, a lengthy injury for Kone could set him back considerably in his first campaign at Anfield, when Liverpool need their new arrivals to play a big part next season.
This is all conjecture at this point, of course, with there no confirmation that Kone faces a long spell out – nor that he is the Reds’ primary target.