After the departure of experienced defender Dejan Lovren last summer and without a replacement being signed, plus the injuries that have plagued the Reds this season, it is now the only position in the Reds that is guaranteed to strengthen this summer. .
Ibrahima Konate has become a target for Liverpool this week, with the RB Leipzig defender on a five-man shortlist as the Reds weigh their options ahead of the summer.
Meanwhile, players such as Ben White, Duje Caleta-Car, Caglar Soyuncu, Dayot Upamecano and Sven Botman have reportedly been on Liverpool’s shortlist at one point or another, so how does Konate compare to those of several departments?
Let’s take a look to see how the French center-back’s play differs using the numbers from the top five European leagues from 2018 to today.
First, the aerial prowess; Who of the players listed above is best and worst when fighting opponents for balls in the air?
Konate ranks first in the air department, winning 113 of his 133 matches, leaving him with an impressive 77.4% win rate, ahead of Caleta-Car in second and Upamecano – who signed for Bayern Munich recently – third.
The 21-year-old is clearly a similar dominant presence to Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip, which likely stems from his imposing 6-foot-4 frame, but he ranks second from the bottom of the group for percentage of dribbling tackles in front. only White, who has spent time in midfield this season.
So what about when he’s in possession of the ball?
In the passing department, his contributions to getting his team onto the pitch and closer to the goal can be captured to some extent by using progressive passing.
For context, a progressive pass is defined as a completed pass that moves the ball towards the opponent’s goal at least 10 meters from its furthest point in the last six passes, or a completed pass in the penalty area. .
Konate seems a little less inclined to play adventurously on the ball compared to other names, placing fourth overall with his Leipzig teammate in the lead.
In terms of game changes – with those defined as passes that travel more than 40 yards across the pitch – the Frenchman ranks bottom of the group on a par 90 basis, indicating he is not inclined to move. the ball over a long period of time. distances down from a hat like Van Dijk, for example.
If he’s not the passer type, is Konate more inclined to carry the ball, then?
It has been classified below according to progressive ranges by 90, those defined as ranges that move the ball towards the opponent’s goal by at least five meters, excluding the 40% of the field in defense, or any carry over into the penalty area.
Only Upamecano and Botman present themselves as more determined ball carriers than Konate; he ranks third, although his litters tend to be over shorter distances compared to Soyuncu – for example – who doesn’t carry the ball as often, but when he does he gains a lot of ground forward.
Among the listed players, Konate is also the youngest alongside Botman, and neither player will reach the end of his current contract until he does so in June 2023.
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It remains to be seen at this point who will actually sign on the dotted line at Anfield, but it is clear that each player linked to a move has different pros and cons.
Konate appears to be the favorite, and his age, availability, and aerial prowess live up to this tag, although it would be unreasonable to expect fireworks when in possession based on his performances over the past two to three years in Germany.