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Liverpool sign Ibrahima Konate, transfer fee, contract, RB Leipzig

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Jurgen Klopp boosted Liverpool’s centre-back options by signing RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate on a “long-term” contract.

France Under-21 international Konate will compete for a position at the heart of Klopp’s defence after they suffered a host of centre-back injuries this season.

Liverpool triggered the reported £36 million ($A66 million) release clause in the 22-year-old’s Leipzig contract to seal his switch to Anfield.

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The move is subject to international clearance and a UK work permit.

“I’m really happy to be joining such a massive club like Liverpool,” Konate told Liverpool’s website.

“It’s a really exciting moment for me and my family and I am really looking forward to meeting my new team-mates, the staff and getting started on this new chapter.”

Konate is Klopp’s first major signing ahead of next season as the Reds boss looks to avoid a repeat of the defensive crisis that ruined their Premier League title defence.

With Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all sidelined by long-term injuries, Liverpool were dethroned by Manchester City after a troubled campaign.

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Klopp often had to use Brazilian midfielder Fabinho at centre-back and finished the season with inexperienced duo Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams as his two central defenders.

Konate was with Leipzig for four seasons, having come through the academy system at French club Sochaux.

He featured 21 times for Leipzig this season but only started eight matches in the Bundesliga.

Part of France’s Under-21 squad at the forthcoming European Championship, Konate said: “After this competition I know I will be joining one of the best teams in the world and that gives me a great feeling.

“I have worked very hard for many years to get to this point, but I would like to say a big thank you to everyone at RB Leipzig and all the people I worked with there — the coaches, my team-mates, the staff and especially the fans.

“Your support helped me grow up during my time there and become not only a better player, but a better man and I will always be grateful for it.” Ozan Kabak will return to German club Schalke following the centre-back’s loan spell at Anfield in the second half of the season.

Klopp is likely to make several more high-profile additions, with Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane and Aston Villa playmaker Jack Grealish reportedly among his targets.

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Marco Tilio beat Argentina after IOC rules twist

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The only thing more remarkable than Australian teenager Marco Tilio scoring with almost his first touch as an Olympian was the fact he wasn’t meant to be playing at all.

Originally called up as a travelling reserve to provide injury cover, Tilio was the latest of entries to the Olyroos’ squad, earning his stripes after the IOC made amendments to allow the football squads to add four extra players to provide additional flexibility during a complex Olympic Games tied down by Covid-19.

But Tilio likes to do things in a hurry. So he wasted no time in making an impact when called on by coach Graham Arnold – scoring a scorching goal with his second touch, mere seconds after coming off the bench, to seal a famous 2-0 victory over world heavyweights Argentina.

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It’s led to some instant internet notoriety, with Tilio’s Wikipedia page getting some curious updates in the wake of his stunning performance – which described his left-foot strike as “better than (Argentinian great) Lionel Messi has ever scored”.

It’s been a wild few weeks for the 19-year-old, who was sitting on the tarmac at Sydney Airport – having returned home after winning the A-League grand final with Melbourne City – when he received a call from his club that rattled him.

“You’re a chance to go to the Olympics,” he was told.

Two days later, that message came from an even more reliable source: Arnold himself.

“I missed (his call), but called him back and he said ‘you’re going to be an Olympian’. I was in so much shock,” Tilio said in Sapporo on Friday.

“So many emotions were going through (my head) last night. ) It’s such a proud moment for me and my family back home. Who could’ve thought? Really it’s just a dream come true.

“But there’s always so much more we can do, keep fulfilling dreams and showing what Australia are made of at an Olympic Games.”

Arnold has boldly declared his team – who started the tournament as $151 outsiders – can claim gold, and Tilio confirmed that’s a belief that the squad carries as well.

“Of course. We always say the strong belief and family culture we have in this team, the sky is the limit for us I believe, and all the boys believe,” he said.

“Everyone comes here with the same goal: to get the gold medal.”

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Harry Kane 'confident' Tottenham will sell him this summer as Man City limit emerges

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The England captain has not given up on sealing a transfer to Man City this summer.

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Five things on Thomas Tuchel's transfer to-do list as Chelsea target PSG star

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Thomas Tuchel still has plenty of work to do at Chelsea before the transfer window ends.

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