PSG could hand Liverpool and Arne Slot a transfer dilemma as 'green light' awaited for signing

Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate compete for the ball during a Liverpool training session.
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

"I'm expecting [new sporting director Richard Hughes] to keep most of our players!" Arne Slot joked during his first Liverpool press conference when asked about what he was anticipating during the summer transfer market. "And I think he wants it himself, and from there on we can only build."

That will, of course, generally be true this summer. It would be a major surprise if there was a shock exit like Jordan Henderson's to Saudi Arabia last year even though the Middle Eastern league would desperately like to snap up Mohamed Salah and Alisson Becker. After a year of change on the pitch in 2023, this summer will primarily be a transition among the coaching staff.

That won't stop players from being linked with exits, however. And Ibrahima Konate is the latest Liverpool star to be suggested as someone who could be wanted by a European giant.

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According to the French outlet PSG Inside, the Ligue 1 side that it primarily covers would like to sign Konate this summer. It is waiting for the "green light" to do a deal but Liverpool is not willing to cash in. It is not the first time this year, however, that such rumors have emerged.

At the end of May, L'Equipe reported that Konate was a primary target for PSG this summer with his Liverpool contract running until 2026. Intermediaries, it was stated, had made it clear to the player that PSG would be keen to sign the 25-year-old if a deal was viewed as plausible.

Last year, Konate told Canal Plus: "Could I imagine myself wearing the red and blue of PSG? If I said no, I’d be lying, but if you’re asking, is it one of my objectives? Not at all."

Having already lost Joel Matip at the end of his contract this summer, signing a new center-back is surely a must for Liverpool in the current transfer market. But part of the reasoning for that is actually because of Konate.

Since he signed for Liverpool three years ago, Transfermarkt has recorded a total of 23 games that Konate has missed for Liverpool because of four separate injuries. That doesn't tell the full story, though: he was also out of favor at the back end of last season because of poor form as he worked his way back to full fitness.

Given Konate's injury history, it would be a gamble not to replace Matip with Liverpool keen to sign Leny Yoro from Lille if his move to Real Madrid falls down. But for the same reason, a mega offer for the Frenchman should not be considered unacceptable.

If PSG placed a substantially bigger fee on the table for Konate than the $46m (£36m/€42m) Liverpool paid to get him from RB Leipzig, that might lead to something of a dilemma. Getting someone with a higher ceiling would be almost impossible but Konate's absences are an issue.

While there is some way to go before anything like that truly tests the Reds in the transfer market, it would be safe to say there is plenty to consider at center-back in the coming weeks. But Konate leaving should be considered extremely unlikely rather than impossible, with the first priority needing to be adding to the number of options available to Slot.