After reports emerged this morning that Liverpool won’t be intimidated by RB Leipzig’s £70m valuation of Naby Keïta, Gabriele Marcotti revealed that “an agreement in principle” over the midfielder’s contract is in place.
As we always do in the transfer window, we are dealing with a very grey area here and, as a disclaimer of sorts, it needs to be stated from the outset that there is no certainty over the matter at hand.
This morning, Paul Joyce of The Times reported that Liverpool won’t back down from RB Leipzig’s reported £70m valuation of Naby Keïta.
Following on from that, and almost confirming Liverpool’s intention to sign the midfielder, Gabriele Marcotti tweeted that an agreement in principle over wages and the length of contract is in place.
That’s my understanding… agreement in principle on wages/contract length
— Gabriele Marcotti (@Marcotti) June 30, 2017
However, despite the claim that Liverpool have been negotiating personally with Keïta, Marcotti insists that “agreements in principle only matter so much.”
The most important factor in any deal that might or might not be agreed for Keïta is the fact that RB Leipzig hold all the decisive cards.
With the backing of Red Bull and more money than is necessary, the Bundesliga side doesn’t need to accept an offer on the basis of financial insecurity.
Furthermore, Leipzig are hugely ambitious and are looking to hold onto their players at all costs.
Even though a release clause in Keïta’s contract would see him leave the club next summer for around £48 million, RBL are prepared to sell him for slightly less if they keep him for another season.
Signing Keïta would significantly raise the level of quality in Liverpool’s midfield. With Coutinho set to play deeper and Jordan Henderson back from injury, Keïta would be the perfect third midfielder for Jürgen Klopp.
Paying the £70 million that Leipzig are reportedly demanding would absolutely demolish the newly set club transfer record fee of £36.9m for Mohamed Salah.
Jürgen Klopp is intent on adding more quality to his side instead of buying in bulk as his predecessor did and Keïta would be the perfect player to continue this trend after the arrival of Salah from Roma.