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defender deal Liverpool ready to confirm first signing of the summer as they weigh up additional options

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp looking to shake up his squad this summer (Alex Livesey/PA)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp looking to shake up his squad this summer (Alex Livesey/PA)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp looking to shake up his squad this summer (Alex Livesey/PA)

Liverpool's transfer plans were given a huge boost on Sunday when they sealed their place in next season's Champions League and now they are set to confirm their first signing of the summer transfer window.

sundayworld.com exclusively revealed in March that Liverpool had identified Konaté as a big transfer target, with a £34million deal set to be finalised now that the 21-year-old has played the final game of the Bundesliga season for RB Leipzig.

Liverpool moved early to trigger the release clause in Konaté's contract, with his arrival set to offer a huge boost to the club's defensive resources that were stretched by an injury crisis in the season that came to an end last weekend.

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Ibrahima Konate of RB Leipzig. (Photo by Ahmad Mora/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Ibrahima Konate of RB Leipzig. (Photo by Ahmad Mora/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Ibrahima Konate of RB Leipzig. (Photo by Ahmad Mora/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Konaté will fit into the club's criteria to sign young players who can be developed into top class performers, with a final decision on the future of on-loan Schalke defender Ozan Kabak also expected imminently.

There is a feeling within the club that the emergence of Nat Phillips as a first team performer in recent months may mean Kabak is not an essential signing, yet the player has confirmed he wants to turn his loan move into a permanent transfer.

"I would like to stay at Liverpool," the Turkish centre-back told The Times. "These last five months have been very valuable for my career. I have played with football stars and for a coach like Klopp.

"But the manager hasn't said anything to me about my future, we haven't spoke about it yetOf course I'm still a young player, I could do things better, but I have a long path ahead of me in my career and the chance to become a better player.

"Virgil (van Dijk), Joel Matip, Joe Gomez, are great central defenders and if I train with them and under a coach like Jurgen Klopp, I could improve."

Liverpool's finances have been greatly enhanced by their third place finish and qualification for next season's Champions League, with the potential to unlock a minimum of £60million from participation in the competition opening up additional transfer options for Klopp.

Xherdan Shaqiri, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and Divock Origi are among the players who could be sold this summer, with finances generated from player sales set to be pumped into the transfer kitty that will be at Klopp's disposal.

Liverpool are also keen to resolve the future of leading marksman Mohamed Salah, with the club keen to advance talks on a new contract for the Egyptian who has two years left to run on his current deal.

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Paris Saint-Germain have been strongly linked with a move for Salah and with Liverpool reluctant to hand long-term deals to players approaching the age 30, that could be a factor in discussions.

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Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum with manager Jurgen Klopp during a lap of honour after the Premier League match at Anfield

Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum with manager Jurgen Klopp during a lap of honour after the Premier League match at Anfield

Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum with manager Jurgen Klopp during a lap of honour after the Premier League match at Anfield

We understand the key reason why Gini Wijnaldum is leaving the club on a free transfer was his desire to sign a long-term contract to stay at Liverpool, but Anfield chiefs were not keen to facilitate that demand for a player who is already 30 and would have a limited sell-on value.

Salah will be 29 next month, with Liverpool chiefs needing to assess whether a sale this summer could benefit the club in the long-term, as was the case with the sale of Philippe Coutinho in January 2018.

That deal generated the funds for Liverpool to sign Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker, with all options on the table for Klopp and the club this summer.

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