Jack Hallows argues that Liverpool simply cannot afford to give up on Naby Keïta, even if just for the massive statement he would represent.
There is more news on the Naby Keïta deal seeping out into the world today but unfortunately, it’s nothing we don’t already know.
The Independent report that RB Leipzig have turned down a fresh £66m bid for the Guinean midfielder – presumably from Liverpool – as they continue their hardball stance over the player’s future.
It’s a well-known fact that the club would prefer to keep Keïta, we already know this due to the consistent public adamance from Sporting Director Ralph Rangnick and CEO Oliver Mintzlaff.
Now, co-founder of Leizpig, Dietrich Mateschitz has joined the conversation, claiming there is “no way” Leipzig would sell the Guinean for what Liverpool bid.
Same old same old.
We bid, he’s not for sale but wants the move, Twitter meltdown occurs. Rinse and repeat.
However, one can’t help but feel that with the number of reports breaking in recent days detailing the split in Leipzig’s hierarchy over a final decision, that this is merely another public strategy to save face and draw as high a price out of Liverpool as possible.
The Reds are evidently not going to back down on this anytime soon and will pay whatever it takes to secure Klopp his first-choice midfield target.
There’s also the small matter that if the Reds do manage to sign Naby Keïta this summer, it would be a massive statement of intent from the club and the manager.
Liverpool have made the same mistakes time and time again in the transfer market in recent seasons and it’s an area that realistically, our owners have had to improve on tenfold.
Again and again, Liverpool would be linked with an impressive player for weeks, eventually making a move but instead of coming in with the confidence of just wrenching the player away from his club, low-ball offers and stalling tactics aimed at trying to lower valuations were implemented. Very unsuccessfully I might add.
Look at Mahmoud Dahoud last summer.
The German was Klopp’s first-choice midfield target ahead of Gini Wijnaldum and despite Monchengladbach publicly insisting that their player was not for sale, the Reds didn’t even bother testing their resolve.
The Reds knew of Dahoud’s release clause that would kick in the following summer – £10m – and opted to wait it out.
The end result? He just joined Dortmund for a bargain £10.3m fee.
Liverpool were lucky that Jordan Henderson ended up adapting so well to the role his manager had been hoping Dahoud would play but the Reds cannot afford to make the same mistake with a player like Keïta.
Put simply, there is no alternative to the Guinean. He may have only just experienced his first real breakout season but the midfielder truly is a one-of-a-kind player – currently anyway – with his ability to contribute equally on both the front and back foot revered by pundits and managers all across Europe.
Keïta would be available for significantly cheaper next summer when his £48m release clause kicks in but it’s likely the Reds would face stiff competition from Bayern Munich by then and one wonders, even with the Klopp factor, whether the club can truly rival a European giant of that size for pulling power.
Keïta wants Liverpool and Liverpool want Keïta. If to get a deal done we have to make him one of the most expensive signings of all time, then surely that is just what we do.
The club made a statement by beating Arsenal and Manchester United to fourth spot last season, it’s time to prove we can keep up not only on the pitch but in the transfer market too.