Michael Mongie spoke to Chris Williams of This is Anfield and Futbolgrad, about Bundesliga target Naby Keita, with there a lack of clarity regarding the likelihood of him moving to Liverpool.

With the 2016/17 season at a close and the 2017 summer transfer window approaching fast, silly season is upon us and with it comes a barrage of often absurd transfer stories.

To clear up the confusion, we need reliable figures like Chris Williams. Last night, in a report for This is Anfield, it was revealed that Liverpool angered Virgil Van Dijk’s agent after restructuring their wage offer.

Changing their offer from £180,000-a-week to a basic wage of £130,000-a-week, which would rise to £180,000 in add-ons, has reportedly threatened the Reds’ chances of signing the Dutchman.

Another of Liverpool’s primary transfer targets this summer is RB Leipzig’s Naby Keita. The dynamic midfielder excelled this season under Ralph Hasenhüttl and propelled the German side to prominence and a place in next season’s Champions League.

There has been a lack of clarity in recent weeks surrounding Liverpool’s chances of signing Keita. To combat this uncertainty, I took the opportunity to speak to Bundesliga expert Chris Williams about Liverpool’s chances of signing the midfielder and what it would mean for the club.

What would Naby Keita bring to Liverpool?

He’s the box to box midfielder we’ve missed since Gerrard left. Some compare him to Kante and the effect he had at Chelsea and Leicester before that; however, he’s a very different player than Kante. Adept at driving forward and unleashing a powerful shot, as well as dribbling at speed. He breaks down the opposition quickly and brings a frightening transition speed.

While he is certainly a player that could add currently unavailable traits to the Liverpool side, is he a player that Liverpool need?

Would he oust Wijnaldum currently? I’m not sure, also if played in his secondary positions out wide would he oust Mané or Firmino/Coutinho? He’s a quality player but would he accept squad rotation, or those be happy who he’d be rotated with? I’m not sure. He’s a quality player and I’m sure it’s a decision that Klopp would like to have.

RB Leipzig have publicly stated they don’t want to sell their best players. Is this just a show or does RBL really intend on seeing off interest from the likes of Liverpool to challenge in the Bundesliga and Champions League next season?

They are exceptionally committed to winning the Bundesliga. They held a membership meeting in March whereby they identified the Champions League as a realist target within the next few seasons, as well as the Bundesliga title/Pokal trophy.

They mean business, backed by multi-billion pound conglomerate in Red Bull, they have the infrastructure and resources to compete at the highest level. They have risen from the very bottom tier of German football to the top in record time.

This question is linked to the previous one, is Naby Keita open to a move abroad or does he have his mind set on a stay in Germany as he told Bundesliga.com?

Keita has been vocal in the German press that he’s keen to stay at Leipzig and face the challenges ahead. He certainly doesn’t seem unsettled or have a persona that says his time is up and he’s looking elsewhere.

When Jürgen Klopp has all his players fully fit, his team is very effective, but who do you see missing out for Naby Keita should he sign for Liverpool?

As above I think he’d naturally challenge Wijnaldum, Henderson maybe Can – depending on the system. Or even the wide front 2 of the 3. With Salah looking close, I’d be surprised if Liverpool mounted a serious challenge for his signature. Especially given his contract status, Leipzig’s resolve and no release clause valid until July 18.

A lot has been said since Steven Gerrard announced his retirement, but some on social media have suggested Keita could be a player to wear the number eight – what do you think?

I’m not precious about numbers – should Liverpool secure his services he could wear 8, 48 or 108 for all I care! He’d certainly be a player worthy of any midfield place, regardless of the number on the back. Only the badge on the front matters. If it’s a Liverbird then brilliant, but I’d expect him to still be in white next season with the Bull of RB Leipzig as his badge…

I’d like to say thanks to Chris for taking the time to answer my questions. 

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Michael Mongie
Just like you, I am a hugely passionate Liverpool supporter. I started Rousing the Kop in January 2015 and since then it has grown tremendously and has even been nominated as 'Best New Football Blog' in the Football Blogging Awards.

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