Manchester United: This defender is the ideal Eric Bailly replacement

Ibrahima Konate, RB Leipzig (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images)
Ibrahima Konate, RB Leipzig (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images) /

Le10Sport have claimed that Manchester United are keen on recruiting Leipzig’s Ibrahima Konate in the summer.

The 20-year-old centre back burst on to the scene when he joined Leipzig from Sochaux in 2017. As a 17-year-old defender in a new league, he made an instant impact. Konate was one of the biggest talking points in the Bundesliga in his first two seasons, becoming a fairly regular player in spite of his age.

Injuries have severely limited his performances this season, with only 5 starts in the league. But alongside club and international teammate Dayot Upamecano, he is one of the most sought-after youngsters in Europe.

Manchester United are already heavily linked with several players for the upcoming summer transfer window – with deals for Jadon Sancho and Jack Grealish still looking like the most realistic ones to happen.

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Last summer, the big-money signings of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire helped the Red Devils massively improve their leaky defence. Maguire has since been appointed club captain as well, with the departure of Ashley Young to Inter Milan.

But it appears that Ole Gunnar Solskjær wishes to further reinforce his defence. While Victor Lindelof has often successfully partnered Maguire at the back, he doesn’t possess the same aerial strength as his partner.

Eric Bailly remains an immensely talented defender, but his injury issues are still a concern. Standing at a massive 6’4″, Konate is an extremely physical player who is aggressive like Bailly while defending. He is also good at starting attacks from the back, a skill that is becoming increasingly mandatory for defenders in the modern game.

United have already made initial contact with Konate’s representatives to gauge his mood at Leipzig. While he is still only 20, he already has sufficient experience at the highest levels of football.

Meanwhile, it appears that the coronavirus outbreak has come at the worst possible time for Leipzig. Under Julian Nagelsmann, they have played some brilliant football in the Bundesliga to mount a legitimate title challenge, only for the pandemic to bring a halt to sporting events across the globe.

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And when things get to normal, Leipzig could lose several players like Upamecano, Konate and Werner in the summer.