The Reds move for Naby Keïta seems to be gaining momentum with each day that passes and with it, mass praise from pundits, fans and experts alike.
Quantity was never going to be the flavour of the month – or two – for Liverpool this summer.
Despite what some pessimistic fans might try and have you believe, Jürgen Klopp is not an idiot. Neither are our owners. Both Klopp and the club knew right from the moment we secured a top four finish that quality was going to be the necessary policy this summer.
If it’s quality Liverpool want, then if they can sign RB Leipzig’s Naby Keïta, it’s quality they’re going to get.
The links between the Reds and Leipzig’s Guinean pocket-powerhouse have been validated constantly in previous days, with praise for the player being drawn from literally every corner of the footballing world.
The latest to pitch into the conversation? Ted Knutson, owner of StatsBomb.
Speaking to Goal.com, Knutson gave a glowing assessment of what the 22-year old would bring to Liverpool were they successful in securing his signature.
“His skill set is extremely rare, and elite skill sets – especially for all-rounders – tend to command huge transfer fees in football,” he explained.
“Given his age, production, and fit for that particular style of play, I could easily see a team setting the Bundesliga transfer record right now.”
“If he plays regularly, that could certainly feel like good business a couple of years down the line.”
While some fans have been asking who the alternative to Keïta is going to be – the belief in Liverpool’s ability to pay £70m is evidently not very strong – Knutson is of the opinion that there isn’t one. The midfielder is simply one of a kind.
“There are a lot of good midfielders out there, but none who is quite like Keïta,” says Knutson, as shown by the following infographic.
Using data in recruitment isn’t JUST about avoiding mistakes. Sometimes it lets you find a Naby Keita WAY before anyone else notices. pic.twitter.com/qflieEYQH3
— StatsBombIQ (@StatsBombIQ) April 21, 2017
While not a household name yet for many fans, in the world of statistics and sporting analytics, the versatile midfielder has certainly not gone unnoticed.
“Naby first showed up as an obviously strong choice in the 2014/15 season where he was probably the best defensive midfielder in Austria,” says Knutson.
“A year later, he was the best attacking midfielder but still had outstanding defensive output, which almost never happens.”
“The only real question we had was how he would fit into Champions League-level teams from a passing perspective, but I’d say he answered all those questions pretty soundly last season, competing in one of the best leagues in Europe.”
Liverpool’s pursuit of Naby Keïta is beginning to sound more and more like a majorly positive move for the club and a sign that the transfer model previously adopted by FSG is being thrown out the window.
Knutson finishes by giving his opinion on Liverpool’s changing summer plans.
“I obviously have a particular perspective but the transfers since last summer certainly feel smarter. I really liked both the Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah deals, and if they were to land Keïta, it would already be an amazing transfer window.”