Liverpool FC's Ibrahima Konate transfer increases Manchester United's need for Raphael Varane

Liverpool have made the Premier League's first big move in the summer transfer market The transfer focus is now in full swing, with Prem...

Liverpool have made the Premier League's first big move in the summer transfer market

The transfer focus is now in full swing, with Premier League clubs and their counterparts across Europe pushing to get business done ahead of next season.

While the window doesn't officially open until June 9, there is nothing stopping clubs from getting to work already - and Liverpool are the first big movers in England.

Jurgen Klopp's side have seen their defence stretched this season amid injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, putting a new central defender top of their transfer wishlist.

The Merseyside outfit, who conceded their Premier League crown with a whimper to Manchester City, haven't wasted any time in getting that business ticked off their to do list.

As reported by our sister site the Liverpool Echo, Liverpool have triggered the £36m release clause of RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate and the deal is set to be completed within the next 48 hours.

It represents Klopp's first move in the market to bolster his side ahead of next season and puts the ball firmly in Manchester United's court to respond.

Like their fierce rivals, United are also in the market for a central defender this summer as they seek a leading defender to partner Harry Maguire.

Similarly, it's an area where United haven't quite found the stability they want or need if they are to launch a successful assault to snatch the Premier League title back from City 's clutches.

In recent years, both Liverpool and City have made defensive signings that have propelled them towards title glory - with Klopp landing Virgil van Dijk and, just last summer, City splashing the cash to sign Ruben Dias - who has shone in his inaugural campaign.

Now, it's United's turn to do the same and the ideal option is staring them right in the face in the form of Raphael Varane.

United were first attracted to the France World Cup winner a decade ago and have held talks with the player's entourage about a potential transfer this summer, with his future at the Santiago Bernabeu under speculation.

As he is set to enter the final 12 months of his deal in the Spanish capital, and with Zinedine Zidane's departure from the club confirmed, the door may have been left ajar for United to secure a deal.

However, unlike Liverpool, United will have to be patient to conclude a deal as a transfer is complicated by the European Championship, which is due to get underway shortly.

Indeed, Varane has made it clear that his future is on the back-burner while Les Bleus look to follow up their success in the 2018 World Cup:  This is not the time to talk about my future, I am focused on the selection, on this Euro, it is normal and logical to ask the question and for my part it is normal and logical to focus on the upcoming deadlines."

Crucially, he hasn't ruled out a departure and, as reported by the MEN back in March, Real chief Florentino Perez is open to a sale this summer as he looks to avoid losing the defender for free next year.

Other suitors for the defender are prepared to wait but United cannot afford to do so and, while £60m is a significant fee, it's a fine price for a defender of Varane's calibre.

While Liverpool's move for Konate will have increased the pressure upon United to sign Varane, there's still plenty of time to get business done and the likelihood is any deal would have to be completed following France's exploits at this summer's international tournament.

It's something that United, and indeed the fans, may have to get used to this summer as it's set to be a similar scenario in the push to sign Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund.

Time will tell on how the cards settle for United but it's clear what the club need to do and their great rivals have only hammered home that point.



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GistLobby⚽: Liverpool FC's Ibrahima Konate transfer increases Manchester United's need for Raphael Varane
Liverpool FC's Ibrahima Konate transfer increases Manchester United's need for Raphael Varane
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