Naby Keita to Liverpool set a precedent that could help the Reds sign Dayot Upamecano early. Both players came from RB Leipzig.
Back in 2017, Liverpool agreed a deal with RB Leipzig to sign Naby Keita. It was an unusual one, however, as they met a release clause that didn’t actually exist.
Keita was set to have a release clause of around £48m that started in 2018 but Liverpool couldn’t wait. Wait for a deal, anyway, as they did end up waiting for the player.
But the Reds struck a deal that saw them agree a transfer for the release clause with add-ons. It depended on how Leipzig did over the season and in the end, Liverpool paid around £53m.
It all meant that Liverpool could agree a deal for the player before Leipzig had to sell him. Everyone got what they wanted, then.
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And this is especially relevant now in the wake of Virgil van Dijk’s injury. Liverpool are short on centre-halves and likely will be for the rest of the season. But there’s a player at Leipzig who could fix that.
We think Liverpool will have to accelerate any summer plans to sign a defender. Arguably the most interesting of those is Dayot Upamecano who, like Keita, is at RB Leipzig.
SportBild claimed this month that Upmecano has a £40m release clause at the end of the season. More than that, Liverpool are very interested in the player.
He’d be a fantastic addition for the future and there’s potentially a sensational long-term partnership with Gomez there. But Liverpool could really do with him ASAP.
January is the earliest but his release clause isn’t technically active then. But the precedent set with Keita suggests Liverpool can get Leipzig to the table early.
Now, this would be different to the Keita deal, of course. Liverpool struck a deal early for that one but didn’t get the player until the clause was active. With Upamecano, the Reds would want the player early, too.
But we know Liverpool have a relationship with Leipzig that allows for flexible negotiation. If they can use that, they may just persuade the Germans to part with their player a few months early.
And that could prove a season-saving deal, if Liverpool can get it done.