Michael Mongie has gone to the trouble to review all the major media highlights so far in Liverpool’s courting of Naby Keita.
Liverpool have been looking at Naby Keita since mid-March. The Reds were reported as having an interest in the Guinean’s teammate Timo Werner. Back then, the Anfield outfit were still uncertain of a top four finish which is now considered as the bare minimum to sign players from the Bundesliga runners-up.
While the report didn’t credit Liverpool with an overwhelming sense of intent to sign Keita, things have certainly progressed since then, even if fans seem disillusioned about the club’s chances of signing him.
Any interest in Keita wasn’t heavily reported until midway through May as it became increasingly clear that Liverpool would finish in the top four ahead of Arsenal.
Two weeks ago, Miguel Delaney of The Independent named Liverpool’s top five transfer targets with Virgil Van Dijk and Naby Keita topping the list. The pair, according to Delaney, would cost the club a combined £100 million to sign if the Reds were successful in negotiating deals with Southampton and Leipzig.
This report was taken with a pinch of salt as Delaney claimed that Klopp was “very confident of landing Andy Robertson from relegated Hull City” which was subsequently rubbished by James Pearce of The Liverpool ECHO.
Then, this week, Melissa Reddy from GOAL claimed that Liverpool are prepared to break their transfer record and wrote, “an asking price in the region of £50 million would not deter the Reds.“
In addition to that, Reddy reported that Liverpool had entered into transfer talks with Keita’s representatives and that, with the Reds willing to pay the midfielder’s requested £120,000 a week wages, talks were progressing well.
Reddy also cited Sadio Mané and Keita sharing the same agency as a factor which weighed in Liverpool’s favour. The Senegal international was aided in hiring a personal chef and arranged a prayer room to suit Mané’s needs.
While the positive experience that Mané has had may prove helpful, Liverpool are aware of other suitors as Keita is in demand after a brilliant season with RB Leipzig. As such, the German club is unwilling to sell this summer as Oliver Mintzlaff, Leipzig’s chief executive explicitly stated.
“We have decided that we will not sell any player from our starting line-up,“ he said.
“Ralf Rangnick [sporting director] told this to our team at the end of the season. We will keep our team together and keep on developing.”
Speaking to the Bundesliga’s official website, the Leipzig midfielder said that this season had been “like a dream” and added, “We succeeded brilliantly and, by finishing second, we can, of course, feel more than satisfied.
“But we don’t want to sit back now. We will continue to progress and ride this wave of success for as long as possible.
“We are really keen to discover what the Champions League is all about. Every player dreams of playing in it, and we will do everything in our power to make a difference in the tournament.”
Keita, after finishing second in the Bundesliga with Leipzig is looking forward to his holiday and is not listening to transfer talk.
He told Bundesliga.com, “I really don’t worry about such things. My only focus is on our games and my performances, they are the most important things.
“I am a young player who never cares about rumours or what appears in the newspapers. I am now looking forward to a well-earned holiday and then to next season.”
Liverpool’s chances of signing Keita may have suffered a blow but there is still hope. As far as the quotes from the midfielder are concerned, it’s unsurprising, isn’t it? He’s not exactly going to come out and declare that he’s leaving as it hands the bargaining power to Liverpool and spoils morale within the Leipzig camp.
The transfer window is yet to open and won’t close for months. There is no reason to worry about Liverpool’s transfer business, especially with Klopp insisting he is aiming to have all incomings completed by the time the Reds start pre-season next month.