Rumour Has It: Liverpool set to sign RB Leipzig's Konate, Barca want Ansu Fati to renew

By Sports Desk April 24, 2021

Is Ibrahima Konate bound for Anfield?

The 21-year-old defender has caught the eye of both Liverpool and Manchester United.

But, the Merseyside club appear set to win the race for his signature.

 

TOP STORY – KONATE HEADING TO ANFIELD

Liverpool have agreed a deal to sign Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig, according to the Guardian.

Konate had also been linked with Premier League rivals Manchester United, who are eyeing a new centre-back at Old Trafford.

But Liverpool have reportedly agreed a five-year contract with Konate, who has a €35million (£30.5m) release clause.

 

ROUND-UP

- The front page of Saturday's Mundo Deportivo reports Barcelona want to offer a new and improved contract to teenage sensation Ansu Fati, which would keep him at Camp Nou until 2026. The 18-year-old, previously linked to United, until at least 2022, with the option to extend it by a further two years.

- What does the future hold for Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma? The 22-year-old Italy star's contract is set to expire at the end of the season and he is yet to re-sign at San Siro amid links with United, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Real Madrid. While Milan remain hopeful of keeping Donnarumma, Calciomercato says they have begun conversations with Lille's Mike Maignan.

Milan, Inter and Roma are eyeing Torino captain and star forward Andrea Belotti, claims Calciomercato.

- Fabrizio Romano reports Manchester City are set to sign Metinho in the same deal with Fluminense team-mate Kayky.

Madrid remain optimistic about the possibility of signing Kylian Mbappe from PSG, according to Le Parisien. Mbappe has been tipped to join Los Blancos, who have also been linked with Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland.

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    Merseyside Police say the "vast majority" of Liverpool fans behaved in an "exemplary manner" in Paris and the force will fully support an investigation into chaos ahead of the Champions League final.

    The kick-off for the showpiece at the Stade de France on Saturday was delayed by over half an hour due to concerning scenes outside the ground.

    UEFA put the delay down to turnstiles being blocked at the Liverpool end of the stadium by thousands of fans who had purchased fake tickets, while a message on the big screen inside the stadium stated that the game was unable to start on time due to "the late arrival of fans".

    Police used tear gas to try and disperse the crowds outside the stadium before a final that ended in a 1-0 victory for Real Madrid courtesy of Vinicius Junior's second-half goal.

    Liverpool officially requested a formal investigation into the causes of the "unacceptable issues".

    Governing body UEFA vowed to review these matters urgently, together with the French authorities and the French Football Federation.

    Merseyside Police on Sunday released a statement passing on the observations from their officers who were in attendance in Paris.

    Assistant chief constable Chris Green said: "We are aware of a number of reports relating to incidents both before and after last night's Champions League final at the Stade de France in Paris.

    "We are also aware that Liverpool FC have requested a formal investigation from UEFA and we will be linking in with the club, UEFA and the UK Football Policing Unit to pass on the observations of our officers who attended the game and took part in the pre-match meetings with the relevant authorities.

    "As with all European matches officers from Merseyside were deployed in France to work in an observatory and advisory capacity with local officers, and they reported that the vast majority of fans behaved in an exemplary manner, arriving at turnstiles early and queueing as directed and their observations will be passed on to the relevant authorities as part of the debrief for the game.

    "Many thousands of fans have travelled throughout the season to matches across Europe and we have worked closely with our supporter groups, the club and European hosts to ensure the matches passed without incident and fans were kept safe.

    "Our officers returning today will conduct a formal debrief to ensure that we can fully support any subsequent investigation following last night's game.

    "We know that people would have witnessed a lot of distressing scenes last night and we wish everyone returning home from Paris a safe journey."

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    Benzema became just the second French captain to lift the trophy, after Didier Deschamps with Marseille in 1993, following a 1-0 win over Liverpool at the Stade de France.

    Carlo Ancelotti's side were largely indebted to the heroics of Thibaut Courtois after the goalkeeper produced nine saves – a Champions League final record since Opta began recording data in 2003-04.

    Vinicius Junior may have scored the winner in Paris but a 14th European Cup for Madrid, which is double the tally of second-best Milan (seven), came down to Benzema's efforts throughout the knockout stages.

    The 34-year-old netted a hat-trick against Paris Saint-Germain, four goals across two legs with Chelsea and three in the tie with Manchester City, including an extra-time penalty to win the semi-final.

    Benzema has been involved in 59 goals this season (45 goals, 15 assists) in all competitions, with only France team-mate Kylian Mbappe (60) bettering that total across Europe's top five leagues.

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    "Obviously, he was already one of the favourites and he deserves this reward."

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    Vinicius converted Federico Valverde's cross in the 59th minute to fire Madrid to a 1-0 final win over Liverpool at the Stade de France, as Los Blancos were crowned European champions for a 14th time - seven more occasions than any other team.

    With his decisive strike, Vinicius became the first Brazilian player to score the winning goal in a Champions League final since Juliano Belletti did so for Barcelona against Arsenal in 2006, also in Paris.

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    Meanwhile, Marcelo lifted the trophy as club captain before announcing his departure from Madrid, having made more appearances for Los Blancos than any other non-Spanish player during his 15-year stay at the Santiago Bernabeu.

    Writing on Instagram after the final, Brazil great Pele hailed his compatriots for their roles in Madrid's success, also praising man-of-the-match Thibaut Courtois and Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti, who is the first coach to win the Champions League/European Cup four times.

    "That's why football is the most beautiful sport in the world. I got to see a dear friend, Vinicius, who overcame so many challenges to decide an epic game," Pele wrote.

    "I'm delighted to see Marcelo be the first Brazilian to lift a Champions League trophy as captain. 

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    "Congratulations Real Madrid. What a beautiful adventure!"

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