RB Leipzig are open to the idea of letting Naby Keita join Liverpool this month while the decision remains in the balance.
Liverpool have to replace Philippe Coutinho after the Brazilian’s £146 million move to Barcelona on Monday and will look to bring forward their deal for Naby Keita after it was agreed in the summer that he would join the Reds on the 1st of July 2018 for £57m.
Coutinho’s sale has earned the Merseyside club £106m up front which can be used to sign a replacement and the best course of action seems to be sign Keita in January and wait until the summer to make a bid for Thomas Lemar.
Melissa Reddy writes for Goal: “A meeting between Keita and Leipzig will take place prior to the weekend, with a decision on how to progress currently understood to be “in the balance”. This discussion will significantly dictate the direction of matters.”
As Reddy writes, Liverpool and Leipzig will need to alter the payment structure of the deal if a new deal can be struck.
This is due to the fact that the variables in the current deal are such that they are reliant on where RB Leipzig finish in the Bundesliga, so if he departs before the end of this season, such add-ons would be null and void.
The Red Bull-sponsored club are reluctant to lose Keita this month but can be incentivised to part with their prized asset if the Reds increase the premium agreed on last summer. Given the cash injection after the sale of Coutinho, this will be no issue for FSG.
If Keita was to sign for Liverpool this January, the Guinean would be ineligible for the Reds’ Champions League campaign while offering a morale boost for their league and domestic cup campaigns.
Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuttl will still make Keita available for selection, saying: “We’ve always said that there is no reason for us to let him go earlier. So he will play at the weekend against Schalke.”