Arsenal and Chelsea are set to miss out on defensive target Ibrahima Konate ahead of this summer.
The two London rivals were both said to be interested in the RB Leipzig defender ahead of next season, but it appears both will have to look elsewhere.
That’s because Liverpool are reportedly close to closing a deal to sign the centre-back with The Athletic claiming talks are already underway and nearing completion.
It’s understood Konate has a £36million release clause, meaning, if Liverpool are happy to pay the fee, only personal terms would remain to be agreed before the deal is done.
That could come as a blow for Arsenal, in particular, who look likely to need a new centre-back this summer with David Luiz’s future unclear amid his expiring contract.
Konate, who is superstar defender Dayot Upamecano‘s defensive partner, has been mooted as one of Arsenal’s preferred options ahead of this summer, but it looks very likely they will need to look elsewhere.
Chelsea were also linked, but Thomas Tuchel has much more leeway than Mikel Arteta, already possessing a wealth of centre-backs, including Antonio Rudiger, Thiago Silva, Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma and Cesar Azpilicueta, though the latter only plays in the middle when a back five is in play.
However, the Blues are still said to be keen to sign a centre-back.
Veteran Silva looks likely to extend his deal but it’s unlikely he will stick around beyond next season, and Fikayo Tomori looks destined to join AC Milan permanently.
Christensen and Rudiger have both shone under Tuchel, as has reliable captain Azpilicueta, and given Chelsea have kept 12 clean sheets in 14 games under their new head coach, they are not likely to lose any sleep on missing out on Konate.