Guinean midfielder Naby Keïta wants to consider his options this summer but RB Leipzig will only let him move on for £70m.
There’s been a lot of exciting news to process on the Naby Keïta front over the last few days and in this article I’m going to do my best to condense it for you.
The Reds have been interested in the midfielder for some time now and links first begun emerging back in late May, tentatively suggesting that the Guinean was Klopp’s first-choice midfield target.
Since then, however, there has been very little movement on the Keïta front as the player has taken time out to enjoy his summer holidays.
Until now that is.
News broke last week that RB Leipzig would be allowed to compete in the UEFA Champions League, despite the presence of sister club RB Salzburg, prompting Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff to effectively rule out an exit for any of the club’s key players.
Mintzlaff said in an interview with BILD, “It would be negligent to sell one of our key players now. Emil (Forsberg) and Naby are extremely talented and developable players, we are glad that we are able to keep up with their development as a club. Now we can prove ourselves in the Champions League in the coming season.”
While Mintzlaff seemed adamant in his stance that Leipzig’s top star would not be for sale, it seems that his cohorts at the club had other ideas.
The Liverpool ECHO’s live blog seemingly confirmed on Saturday that Keïta is nailed on as Klopp’s first-choice midfield target, making no secret of the German’s desire to secure the Guinean international ahead of the 2017/18 season.
The ECHO claimed that the Reds were preparing a £50m package to try and force their way into negotiations with the player.
Now here’s where the fun – and incredibly messy – part begins.
Yesterday – June 26th – news began breaking thick and fast, seemingly confirming that Leipzig were willing to sell if the right price was met and that Keïta would be more than open to a move away from the Red Bull-owned club.
BILD were the first to get in on the action. The German publication quoting Leipzig’s sporting director Ralf Rangnick, who claimed that the club would listen to offers for the player IF their asking price was met.
Further news then began to surface on Twitter via tweets from reliable sources such as the Guardian’s Ed Aarons and Bundesliga journalist Raphael Honigstein, claiming that the player was open to a move away and that Leipzig’s stance was “genuine.”
Before this all gets too messy. 1) I have been told that Keita wants to go. 2) I believe RBL’s €80m or nothing stance is genuine.
— Raphael Honigstein (@honigstein) June 26, 2017
Keita wants to leave
— Raphael Honigstein (@honigstein) June 26, 2017
Liverpool move for Naby Keita is gaining momentum but reports RB Leipzig want £70m #lfc
— Ed Aarons (@ed_aarons) June 26, 2017
The consensus seemed to be that Keïta had rejected a new contract at the club in a bid to “consider his options,” this summer and that Leipzig’s price tag for their star midfielder was set at an eye-watering and unwavering €80 million.
This could be seen good news in a sense for Liverpool as it shows that Leipzig will at least be willing to do business if we meet their asking price and that as per Goal, Liverpool is a club that Keïta believes can help him to “fulfil the career trajectory he has envisioned.”
However, what’s not so good for the club, is that €80m equates to roughly £70.4m. If the Reds are to sign the dynamic midfielder, they will not only have to almost double their own club transfer record but shatter the Bundesliga record €70m fee paid by Manchester City for Kevin De Bruyne back in 2015.
In fact, Keïta would become the second most expensive signing in Premier League history ever behind only Paul Pogba who rejoined Manchester United last summer for a tick under £90m. Not the best thing to hear when other reports claim that Liverpool’s current prepared bid is a fair way off and sits around the £45-50m mark.
While I wrote an article recently claiming that money wouldn’t be as much an issue for the Reds this year as it has been in recent summers, £70m on Keïta is a lot to ask for a player who hasn’t played Champions League football yet.
Combine it with the £70m that the Reds are looking more and more likely to shell out on Virgil van Dijk and the club will have spent £140m on two players. A massive statement of intent? Yes. A realistic statement of intent? Call me pessimistic but I’m not so sure.
Despite this, the ECHO has claimed today that Keïta does have a release clause of £48m in his contract that kicks in during the summer of 2018 but that it is likely if the Reds are going to sign the player, this is the summer they’ll opt to do it.
What do you make of this gigantic mess of information? Will Naby Keïta be a Liverpool player by the end of this window? Or is £70m too much to ask?
Don’t know who Naby Keïta is? Why not read our article profiling the player and learn a little bit about the Guinean midfielder?