Liverpool have been constantly foiled in their attempts to sign Naby Keïta this summer and it’s all due to a personal vendetta between Ralf Rangnick and a member of the player’s agency.
It has been a frustrating transfer window for Liverpool so far. This has been the first window in living memory where the club has been willing to spend big money and successful in convincing big players to join them.
Mohamed Salah aside, Liverpool have not signed any of their top transfer targets with the Virgil van Dijk transfer saga a source of much angst for fans.
As far as Naby Keïta is concerned, however, my own frustration is at its highest point. Two enormous bids for the Guinean have been rejected and it would seem it’s all down to the fact that Ralf Rangnick is unwilling to let Arena 11 (Keïta’s agency) get one over him again.
In 2014, Sadio Mané forced a move through from RB Salzburg to Southampton on deadline day while Rangnick was the sporting director.
According to Sam McGuire of Football Whispers, the German has an issue with a member of Arena 11 and upon learning that this person was helping Keïta in his efforts to move from Leipzig, he put his foot down, enlisting the help of club owner Dietrich Mateschitz.
Mateschitz said, “Lately we got a €75m offer for Naby Keïta. No way! He has a contract and he will accomplish it.
“To sell him would not only be a proof of distrust to our fans but also the wrong sign for our players like Timo Werner, who is in demand too.”
However, Rangnick’s hand has slipped in a rather uncharacteristic outburst with the German publicly blasting Keïta’s agency.
At a coaching convention in Bochum on Wednesday, Rangnick said, “There should be someone who points them into the right direction.
“The boys themselves are not the problem here. It is their surroundings. A whole village in Guinea or somebody from their entourage tells the players why they must do something right away. I can’t blame the players.
“I expect them to play for us next season. Both are extraordinary players who make the difference for our team.”
Keïta and his representatives are yet to decide on whether or not they will respond to Rangnick’s comments.
It remains to be seen if recent events will aid Keïta and Liverpool in their common mission of organising a summer transfer with the hope that the likes of Olivier Mintzlaff and Mateschitz decide to veto Rangnick and grant Keïta his wish.