The Liverpool ECHO spoke to German football expert for BT Sport Archie Rhind-Tutt yesterday who gave his opinion on Naby Keïta.
“The amazing thing for Keïta is how quickly he settled into this Leipzig side last season, and how he became one of the stars for the club.”
That’s German football expert for BT Sport Archie Rhind-Tutt’s glowing response when asked whether Liverpool should be signing Naby Keïta this summer.
The German football expert gave an interview yesterday to the Liverpool ECHO and spilled the beans on all that we, as Liverpool fans, need to know about the Guinean international.
Rhind-Tutt first highlights Keïta’s big game mentality, dribbling and passing abilities as his main strengths.
The German expert claims there was never “another player that was able to beat players so much with his passing, and create chances for his teammates in such a fashion,” while also being able to “motor from the centre of the park past five opposition players, play a neat one-two on the edge of the box before finishing.
In Rhind-Tutt’s opinion, it’s this “ability to create something out of nothing,” that also contributes to his status of being the ultimate “big-game player.”
When asked to compare Keïta to another player style-wise, Rhind-Tutt’s comments are glowing.
He reveals that Keïta idolises Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta and “has been known before games this season to watch clips,” of the midfielder for inspiration. However, he believes that Keïta is “quicker than Iniesta,” while possessing just as impressive a combination of dribbling and passing abilities.
However, Rhind-Tutt doesn’t stop there and while he recognises they are totally different players and that Keïta “actually offers more going forward,” he simply can’t help himself drawing comparisons to Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante.
The German believes that the player’s “great aggression in the tackle” and the way that he “aggressively hoovers the ball up and takes it on” both have an “element” of Kante about them.
When it comes to Keïta’s club – RB Leipzig – and whether they will sell, Rhind-Tutt was unsure.
Using the example of Borussia Dortmund who “seem to force themselves to sell their top players,” Rhind-Tutt believes that if Leipzig want to become a top footballing powerhouse, then their “real challenge,” is to hold onto their major assets in their prime years.
Expanding on his point, the German states: “If they are to mount a challenge (to Bayern), they have to hold on to those key players.”
“I don’t think there is financial pressure from Red Bull to have to sell, so that would be a change in dynamic. They are not financially struggling, so they can hold out for quite a lot of money as they are with Keïta.”
Finally, Rhind-Tutt reveals some interesting information about the perception of Leipzig in Germany and why they may struggle to hold onto players even if they want to.
Like Wolfsburg who have also tried to take the next step RB Leipzig don’t “have that pull, that tradition, that history, and in Germany tradition is king.” Positively for the Reds’ chances of signing the player, if Liverpool possess anything in abundance, it’s certainly tradition and history.
The most startling piece of information comes from Rhind-Tutt’s assessment of the people’s perception of Leipzig as he reveals: “I cannot tell you how hated Leipzig are! It actually stuns me. Fans are very unforgiving of Leipzig, in their eyes, being nothing more than a marketing venture.”
However, in Rhind-Tutt’s opinion, despite Leipzig not being well received by many parts of Germany, having Champions League football “absolutely” strengthens their position when it comes to holding onto players such as Timo Werner, Emil Forsberg and Naby Keïta.
This is, of course, a well observed point as many fans and pundits share Rhind-Tutt’s belief that “if you are successful and playing in the Champions League, players are going to want to play for you.”
There is one last glimmer of hope in Rhind-Tutt’s words though as he relays the sentiment that for Leipzig, “the team is greater than the individual.” Could this see them allow Keïta to leave if he kicks up enough fuss? Let’s hope so.