Arsenal have been linked with a move for RB Leipzig centre-back Ibrahima Konate, as per recent reports. The German Bundesliga side have several young talents with release clauses, and Konate’s progress, in particular, has impressed the Gunners.
As per German news outlet Sport Bild, Konate has a release clause of £45million, which is not a fee out of Arsenal’s reach despite the recent financial implications of Covid19.
Arsenal did not shy away from spending big money in the summer transfer window and signed Thomas Partey for a fee of £45million, but their season has not as expected. Mikel Arteta’s side have hit some roadblocks along the way, and find themselves 11th in the Premier League table after losing four of their opening eight games so far.
It is evident that the Gunners have struggled to score goals, but they have not really impressed defensively despite playing a cautious style of football under Arteta. Adding more quality at the back can make them a more solid unit.
Ibrahima Konate – The player to solve Arsenal’s defensive woes
The Gunners signed Gabriel Magalhaes in the summer, and he has done reasonably well, though it’s too early to judge his impact and quality. Arteta has tried several players alongside him, and David Luiz seems like the only one who has impressed, but only in patches.
Luiz has been inconsistent, while the likes of Rob Holding and Shkodran Mustafi simply aren’t good enough for a club trying to make it back into the top four. William Saliba is yet to really play for Arsenal, and it does not seem like he is in Arteta’s plans.
Basically, Arsenal have the numbers at the back, but not the quality that they need to push ahead, and that’s where Konate can come in.
The Frenchman joined Leipzig from FC Sochaux in 2017, and despite being just 18 at the time, he mad 16 Bundesliga appearances for the club. Now 21, Konate is a regular for the Bundesliga side, and has made 79 appearances for the first team since joining them.
So far this season, Konate has made five appearances for the team, and has impressed with his confident defending. A front-footed defender, Konate is proficient at winning aerial duels and likes playing the ball out from the back. He averages 2.5 aerial duels won in the Bundesliga, and a solid pass accuracy of 92.5%.
Konate and Upamecano are the future of French football, and if Arsenal can get their hands on either one of them, they will have a defence comprising of Konate and Gabriel, which could be a long-term solution, and one that Arteta can shape for the future with his philosophy.
For his age, Konate and potential, Konate would be a decent buy for £45million.
Stats via Whoscored