Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konate ensures fans he is ‘big, strong and not scared of the ball’ as the £36m arrival hopes to impress alongside Virgil van Dijk next season… and also reveals origins behind his ‘Ibou’ nickname
- Ibrahima Konate was signed for £36million from RB Leipzig this summer
- France Under 21 defender insists he is ready for the Premier League challenge
- Konate is likely to start the season alongside Virgil van Dijk in the Reds defence
- His mother and much of his family have long known him as ‘Ibou’
Liverpool’s summer signing Ibrahima Konate has aimed to give fans a confidence boost heading into the new season by insisting he can impress in the Reds’ defence.
Konate joined Liverpool for just £36million in the summer after they triggered his release clause at RB Leipzig as Jurgen Klopp’s men look to put a traumatic 2020-21 campaign behind them.
Entering that season as defending Premier League champions, Liverpool’s campaign soon spiralled out of control once their two main centre-backs in Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez were ruled out for the rest of the season, and a third in Joel Matip was also sidelined long term.
Ibrahima Konate was Liverpool’s first summer signing in a £36m move from RB Leipizg
Konate believes his ‘big and strong’ presence can help boost Liverpool this term
Eventually sneaking a Champions League place in the final couple of games of the season with a third place finish, the Reds will now hope to challenge for the Premier League title once again.
Konate arrives at the club likely to partner Van Dijk at the back and was keen to inform supporters of the strengths he will look to bring to the red side of Merseyside.
‘I am big, I am strong and I am not scared with the ball,’ he told Liverpool’s website.
‘I can score more with my foot than my head, it is a little bit strange! This is me!
‘Yes, I have this quality, but I have to work again and again and more and more and more for being a very good defender.
Konate has been training with Liverpool in their pre-season base in Austria
The France Under 21 centre-back is put through his paces with the rest of the Reds team
Liverpool will be welcoming back Virgil van Dijk (right) and Joe Gomez (centre) this term after both missed most of the 2020-21 season through injury
‘I have watched some Premier League games and everybody knows there is so much intensity, strong players. This is difficult but I [will] love the challenge.’
The 22-year-old will take the No 5 vacated by Georginio Wijnaldum following his move to Paris Saint-Germain after the expiry of his Liverpool deal, and he can be sure he will be referred to by his nickname ‘Ibou’.
Explaining the origins of his nickname, the France Under 21 international added: ‘[Call me] Ibou because when I was young every time my mother called me ‘Ibou, Ibou, Ibou’.
‘On my first day with Leipzig she was with me and she said every time ‘Ibou, Ibou, Ibou’ and [manager] Ralf Ragnick said “why Ibou?”
‘And after I said “it’s my nickname, my mother calls me that and my family too”…he said “okay now it’s Ibou”. Now everyone calls me Ibou!’
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