Manu Kone (France U21) (Image: Maurizio Borsari/AFLO/Alamy Live News)

Why Liverpool are unlikely to sign forgotten midfield target Manu Kone

As Liverpool seek further reinforcements in midfield with the clock ticking, the return to fitness of a previous target could prove interesting.

It seems a long time ago now that Manu Kone and Khephren Thuram were considered the Reds’ primary targets as part of a midfield rebuild.

Though there were claims throughout June over talks with the young French duo and their clubs, those later died down with Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai to join instead.

Both were signed before the surprise departures of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson, however.

Now, with a senior duo leaving for Saudi Arabia, Liverpool have less than a month to make at least one and more likely two new signings in midfield.

Southampton‘s Romeo Lavia and Fluminense’s Andre are widely reported as targets, with two bids rejected for the former, but it could be that earlier interest is revived.

2NA8MGA Berlin, Germany. 12th Feb, 2023. Soccer: Bundesliga, Hertha BSC - Borussia Monchengladbach, Matchday 20, Olympiastadion, Gladbach's Manu Kone. Credit: Soeren Stache/dpa - IMPORTANT NOTE: In accordance with the requirements of the DFL Deutsche FuBball Liga and the DFB Deutscher FuBball-Bund, it is prohibited to use or have used photographs taken in the stadium and/or of the match in the form of sequence pictures and/or video-like photo series./dpa/Alamy Live News

Any pursuit of Kone was seen to have broken down following the Borussia Monchengladbach’s knee injury while at the U21 Euros with France.

The 22-year-old was forced off in a 4-1 win over Switzerland at the end of June and, after leaving the stadium on crutches, was given a six-week recovery time.

Unsurprisingly, with Jurgen Klopp eager to bring players in for pre-season, reports of any move for Kone fizzled out as a result.

Now, though, Kone has been undergoing individual sessions alongside Gladbach training and that led many supporters to call for a revived pursuit.

The midfielder is only in light training, though, and both BILD and Kicker have reported setbacks of sorts to his initial six-week layoff.

It is speculated that Kone will not even be involved for Gladbach until after the September international break.

Though Liverpool will need to be more flexible when it comes to the integration of their next signings now, that may be a bridge too far.

2K1G1JG MONCHENGLADBACH - Manu Kone of Borussia Monchengladbach during the German Bundesliga match between Borussia M?nchengladbach and RB Leipzig at the Borussia- Park stadium on September 17, 2022 in Monchengladbach, Germany. ANP | Dutch Height | Gerrit van Keulen

BILD even claim it is “practically certain” Kone will no longer be sold this summer, owing to the length of his injury.

That is not to say he will not remain on the radar, particularly given the connections between Liverpool and Gladbach with Jorg Schmadtke and his son Nils in sporting director roles.

But it would almost certainly be a last resort if the Reds pushed through a deal for a half-fit Kone at this stage.

Instead, his progress would likely be monitored with any future move dependent on his recovery and return to form in Germany.