In a recent tweet, SportBILD journalist Christian Falk has mentioned that Chelsea are locked in a three-way battle for Red Bull Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate. It is understood that the Blues could face competition from Liverpool and Manchester United in pursuit of the French centre-back.
TRUE ✅ Chelsea and Liverpool expected in the last days the rejection of Dayot Upamecano and are now concentrating on Ibrahima Konaté @DieRotenBullen as a new candidate. Also @ManUtd is interested @LFC @ChelseaFC
— Christian Falk (@cfbayern) February 12, 2021
Konate’s Injury-Prone Season At Leipzig
The Paris-born defensive ace has endured an injury-ravaged season at the Red Bull Arena but deserves credit for producing some commanding displays on the defensive end of the field. Konate has made 13 appearances for the German outfit this term, registering one goal and two yellow cards across various competitions.
The 21-year-old has caught the eye by averaging 1.1 tackles, 1.0 interceptions, 2.2 clearances and 0.5 dribbles per game in the Bundesliga and the UEFA Champions League group stages this season. He has also distributed the ball relatively well out from defence after completing 82.4% of his attempted passes in both those competitions (stats via whoscored).
Despite his injury struggles, Konate has proven himself to be a valuable member of Julian Nagelsmann’s match-day squad. Hence, he could turn out to be a shrewd buy for Chelsea if they can find a way to win the race for his services.
What Will The French Defensive Ace Add To Thomas Tuchel’s Team?
Konate is a great tackler of the ball and has got the hunger to win possession back for his team. He has decent pace in his locker that allows him to pull off some important recovering runs at the back. The French youngster is also not afraid to put his foot through the ball to make a clearance when needed. He is a decent ball-playing centre-half as well, which makes him a wise choice for the Blues to consider during the summer transfer window. Standing at 1.94m, Konate has got a real presence about him and can be a hard man to knock off in the air.
Currently, Tuchel has got Antonio Rudiger, Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen and Thiago Silva making up his central defensive department. However, Thiago Silva’s contract at Stamford Bridge expires at the end of this campaign, so he could leave some space in Tuchel’s squad for someone like Konate, who has got the potential to become a future star in European football.
As long the Frenchman can steer clear of injuries in the coming seasons, he has a decent shot of becoming a world-class centre-back under a good man-manager like Tuchel, who might have the ingredients to unlock his true potential. With all things considered, Chelsea should think about engineering a move to bring the Leipzig prospect to the English capital when the transfer window reopens later this year.