ESPN journalist Gabriele Marcotti believes that if Liverpool meet RB Leipzig’s valuation of Naby Keïta then the Guinean will be allowed to leave this summer.
The 22-year-old is desperate for a move to Liverpool but is having his transfer blocked by Leipzig who are hugely reluctant to sell him this summer.
Keïta was one of Leipzig’s most important players last season as the Bundesliga newcomers surged to a second place finish in the league. The Guinean’s energy, midfield dynamism and speed in transition were crucial to the way Leipzig played last season.
Despite public assurances that Keïta is not for sale, the past few days have seen a growing feeling that if Liverpool submit a fresh bid, one that smashes the Bundesliga transfer record, then Leipzig will feel compelled to sell.
In line with this sentiment, ESPN’s European football expert expresses his belief* that if Liverpool are to meet Leipzig’s valuation of Keïta then the Reds will get their man.
“I don’t think Liverpool ever believed it was dead,” Marcotti said on ESPN FC, via the Express.*
“I think Liverpool believe that Keïta wants to come and they believe via intermediaries that they have an understanding of what his terms would be.
“The problem is Red Bull and Ralf Rangnick have come out and he said he does not want to sell, Keïta’s not for sale.
“This is a classic situation where it becomes a test of resolve, like a game of chicken.”
Liverpool’s biggest issue has been with Leipzig’s insistence that Keïta is not for sale. Marcotti, however, believes that if Liverpool meet the German club’s £65 million valuation of Keïta, then they can finally wrap up a deal.
Marcotti said, “Does Keïta go and try and force a move? No club wants to keep an unhappy player.
“There is a valuation where Leipzig are going to sell no matter what Rangnick says.
“I think they’re talking £65million thus far, if it goes much north of that who knows? Or if Keïta goes and kicks up some kind of a fuss.
“This is how deals get done when valuations aren’t met. Leipzig are quite steadfast in saying they will not sell him.”
While this isn’t necessarily an update on the situation with many outlets reporting the same in recent days, it’s good to hear it repeated by a reliable figure in Marcotti.
Having Keïta in Liverpool’s midfield next season will be a complete game-changer as the 22-year-old Guinea international is superb at breaking up play and starting attacks.
Liverpool have missed having a true no.8 in the side since Steven Gerrard was converted to a deep-lying playmaker by Brendan Rodgers and Klopp will be hugely appreciative of Keïta’s talents.
*Marcotti voiced his beliefs on the Keïta saga while speaking on a show for ESPN, therefore we have provided a hyperlink to the Express as attribution.