Barcelona and Real Madrid are eyeing up a move for RB Leipzig centre-back Ibrahima Konate, reports Spanish outlet AS.
Konate joined RB Leipzig from Sochaux in 2017. Since then, he has achieved reasonable success at the German side despite several injury troubles, reaching a Champions League semi-final last season.
His performances for Die Roten Bullen have attracted attention from several clubs across Europe, especially in the Premier League. Back in February, it was reported that three of the biggest English clubs were competing for his signature.
The 21-year-old is now being linked with a move to La Liga, with AS reporting that Barcelona and Real Madrid are both in the hunt for his services.
The article claims that Konate has a €45 million release clause. However, RB Leipzig may settle for a much lower sum of around €30m.
Real Madrid could be desperately in the hunt for a new centre-back this summer. Long-serving captain and club legend Sergio Ramos has just a few months left on his current contract, and is yet to agree a new deal. He has been linked with moves to Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain.
Meanwhile, World Cup winner Raphael Varane is also rumoured to be exiting the Bernabeu. The Frenchman is yet to sign a new contract at Los Blancos, with reports suggesting that he may be allowed to move on at the end of the season.
Any pursuit of Konate by Real Madrid will likely be dependent on the futures of Ramos and Varane, as well as their attempts to sign wantaway Bayern Munich defender David Alaba.
Meanwhile, Barcelona could also do with a new central defender ahead of next season. Gerard Pique is 34 now and has just come back from a long-term injury.
Meanwhile, Clement Lenglet’s performances have dropped, and Samuel Umtiti seems vastly out of favour with manager Ronald Koeman.
La Blaugrana have youngsters Oscar Mingueza and Ronald Araujo making an impression, but they will need more options at the back – especially given that they now play with three centre-backs in a 3-5-2 formation.
However, the Catalan giants have other defenders on their radar. Newly elected president Joan Laporta has apparently vowed to compete with Real Madrid for Alaba, while Manchester City youngster Eric Garcia has been heavily linked with a move to the Camp Nou for a long time.