Liverpool target Naby Keïta “wants to move to Liverpool” but convincing his current employers to sell is going to be tough.
The Belgium-based, Guinean reporter gave an interview with the Liverpool ECHO yesterday to talk all things Keïta and Makadji believes that it is Keïta’s goal to “finish in a top team in Europe” such as Liverpool.
Asked about the Guinean people’s reaction to Liverpool’s interest in the player, Makadji reveals the excitement around the potential deal.
“Guinea people love football but they rarely get the chance to see their players joining big clubs in Europe,” he said.
“They are so proud to know that a great team like Liverpool are trying to sign Naby Keïta.”
“Some people talk about Paul Pogba but Guineans are more proud of Naby than the France international because Naby plays for the Guinea national team. Today everybody in Guinea wants to see Naby shining.”
Taking a break from all the rumour and transfer talk for a minute, Makadji was asked about the 22-year old’s background and personality.
The Guinean journalist revealed that Keïta, who was raised in Conakry is “shy and so humble” and that when he returns to his home country to see his old friends, he “always talks about football.”
Makadji also reveals that like many of the other children he grew up with, Keïta “didn’t go to a football academy, he just used to play with his friends in the street.”
However, despite not attending a football academy in his youth, Makadji believes that the talent was always there and that there was never any doubt that the young midfielder – nicknamed ‘Titi Deco’ after the legendary Portuguese midfielder – would succeed.
It hasn’t been an easy road though, with Keïta travelling to Europe “three or four times” for trials and failing each time before finally receiving his big break during a tournament organised by former Guinea and Celtic defender Bobo Baldé.
Onto his footballing traits.
When asked about Keïta’s qualities as a midfielder, Makadji reveals that Luis Fernandez – former coach of PSG and the Guinean national team – “used to compare him to Iniesta.”
“Naby is a box to box midfielder. He has great ability with the ball. He has excellent vision and can create very important assists for strikers. He can also play as a No 10.
“In his last season in Austria, he ended the season in this position and he scored more than 10 goals there.”
Makadji credits Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp as being a huge contributing factor behind Keïta itching for a move, revealing: “He wants to move to Liverpool. His aim is to finish in a top club in Europe. When Liverpool and especially Klopp needs you, it’s difficult to say no.
“The fact Liverpool will play in the Champions League next year is a big part of that because he really wants to play in this competition. If he can do that with a big club like Liverpool, it is always better.”
Finally, Makadji gives his opinion on the touted £70m price tag that would hang over the “more than normal player” were he to make the switch to Merseyside.
“For the pressure of that price, I think that will let us know the kind of player he is,” he said.
“If he can’t play under this kind of pressure then he is just a normal player. But, really, I don’t think that will be a problem for him. He’s more than a normal player.”
“Naby is young and has great potential. I hope he will join Liverpool and realise big things at Anfield – things that Guinean players have never realised before.”
You can read the full transcript on the ECHO here.