Aaron Curry discusses whether or not it’s worthwhile for Liverpool to spend £75 million on Naby Keïta.
Rather expectedly, today’s footballing market has seen a gradual inflation of player prices in the past few years. For reasons somewhat within the game and others elsewhere, it is the reality that everyone has succumbed to – epitomised by RB Leipzig’s Naby Keïta.
The Guinean box-to-box central midfielder became a phenomenon in the Bundesliga last season, following his move from sister-club, RB Salzburg. He helped his newly promoted side to a staggering second place finish; even above the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Hoffenheim.
Due to this, the price put on his head is reported to be a hefty £75 million.
This inevitably raised plenty of eyebrows, considering some people were clueless as to who he was. For the majority of avid football fans, however, the name had bounced around in more than a few conversations.
I for one, was an admirer of his playstyle, feeling as though he would have a lot to contribute to the Liverpool squad in 2017/18.
He finished the season with a respectable seven goals to his name – his first of those was a debut winner against top four rivals Borussia Dortmund.
After being subbed on for the last eleven minutes of the game, he gained his side three points that would be a partial step towards earning Champions League football. In addition to this, he supplied his teammates with eight assists, meaning his overall goal contribution totalled to fifteen.
Coupling a 22-year-old Keïta with Jürgen Klopp’s ability to develop each player under his wing, there leaves plenty to be desired for fans. His 81% pass completion rate, 41 total chances created and 44% shot accuracy (despite being good already) would be improved slightly, if not drastically.
I personally would love to see the Guinean international playing under the Anfield lights next season.
The main statistic that caught my eye was the fact that he was rated the second best player in the Bundesliga; only finishing behind Polish striker Robert Lewandowski.
Considering this was Keïta’s debut season in the top-flight of German football, this is no easy feat.
Many experts of the Bundesliga have hailed Naby Keïta as a crossover of N’Golo Kanté and Andres Iniesta.
This is nothing to be taken lightly and could explain the £75 million price-tag placed on his head.
There is an argument to suggest that Leipzig are simply testing Liverpool’s – or anyone else’s resolve – in order to fend off any potential bids for their star player. Although if Liverpool were serious about Keïta becoming a red, this should not stop them in any form.
This deal being completed would make me, and the majority of the Liverpool fan base extremely pleased – mainly due to the fact that it would smash the club’s transfer record.
Paying £75 million for Keïta would more than double the £35 million deal for Andy Carroll and obliterate the £36.9 million transfer record set by Mohamed Salah.
A young talent, hungry to participate in Champions League football would be destined for an illustrious career, wherever this may be.
If FSG are to prove their doubters wrong surrounding transfer business, this move would make sense in a variety of ways, not least to mention that Naby Keïta is a phenomenal talent.