What does Ibrahima Konate mean for Joel Matip?

Liverpool, Ibrahima Konate (Photo by Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Getty Images)
Liverpool, Ibrahima Konate (Photo by Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Getty Images) /

Liverpool are close to sealing the deal for RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate, but what does it mean for Joel Matip?

The Athletic, via the BBC, reported that the Reds are interested in the young Frenchman, and could pay up to £34m for the centre-back.

This is a surprising move, especially given that Liverpool signed two centre-back in the January transfer window. Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak were brought in during the dying stages of the winter window and now question marks should be raised about that recruitment.

Liverpool close to Ibrahima Konate

Kabak had a shaky start to his Anfield career but looks far more settled with a regular defensive partner and Fabinho shielding play in front of him. Liverpool have an option to buy the Turk at the end of his loan spell with Schalke, and if they do it would represent Jurgen Klopp with a little bit of an issue.

That would mean Klopp would have up to seven senior centre-backs to pick from Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, Kabak, Davies, Nat Phillips and Konate. It’s clear there needs to be a reshuffle of the decks, but who is the most likely one to leave?

Matip should be looking over his shoulder nervously. As the most senior of the three, he’s also the most injury-prone and is 29-years-old so if Liverpool want to recoup any money for the ex-Schalke man they need to do it now.

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His contract also expires in 2024, according to Transfermarkt, so the Reds will need to sell the player if they are to move him on.

It feels like we’re seeing Matip’s time at Liverpool slowly come to an end.

He’s never available, and even though he’s got ability, there is a changing of the guard that needs to embrace Konate and Kabak as the future.

From a financial point of view, keeping Kabak and moving on Matip makes sense. The option to buy is incredibly generous in Liverpool’s favour, and even if things don’t work out with Kabak, the club will be able to sell him for more than they bought him after a few years.

It’s been great, but time’s up for Matip.