Sunday 23 July 2017

'We will definitely not be letting any key players go' - Liverpool receive blow in their pursuit of Keita

Liverpool target Naby Keita
Liverpool target Naby Keita

Liverpool have been dealt a huge blow in their bid to sign Naby Keita, with RB Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick insisting he is not for sale.

Jurgen Klopp has made the midfielder one of his top summer transfer targets and is reportedly prepared to spend up to €80million for the all-action 22-year-old.

But Rangnick is adamant he will hold onto his key man.

"We will definitely not be letting any key players go. There's nothing that will make us budge," he said.

"It's totally normal for clubs to be interested in our players, but that doesn't affect our stance on the matter."

Leipzig chief executive Oliver Mintzlaff admitted earlier this week that he is "bored" by constant speculation surrounding Keita.

Asked by Sportbuzzer whether Leipzig were "unresponsive" to offers for Keita, Mintzlaff said: "Yes. And that topic is boring.

"This is only our second Bundesliga season, our squad is still the youngest and most likely also the most inexperienced.

"Sure, it would be great to start where we left off. It's an advantage that there's no upheaval."

 

WHAT THE PAPERS SAY

The Daily Mirror reports that ANTONIO CONTE's future at Chelsea is in doubt as he has become frustrated with Chelsea's failure in the transfer market over the summer. ROMELU LUKAKU appears to be on the verge of a move to Manchester United and the Blues have also failed on moves for ALEXIS SANCHEZ and VIRGIL VAN DIJK. The Italian is said to be "fuming" about the failure to bring Lukaku to Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea will now turn their attention to Swansea's FERNANDO LLORENTE, according to the Evening Standard. The Blues were interested in the Spaniard in January's transfer window and Chelsea are set to renew their interest as Diego Costa's likely departure leaves them short in the striker department. However, Swansea are keen to keep hold of a player whose 15 goals last season helped them retain their Premier League status despite him being in the last year of his contract.

Marseille are the frontrunners to sign Arsenal striker OLIVIER GIROUD, according to the Daily Telegraph. Everton, West Ham and Lyon have all been linked with the France international after his Gunners future was thrown into doubt by the acquisition of Alexandre Lacazette earlier this week. But now Marseille believe they can take Giroud back home in a deal worth around £24.7million plus add-ons.

The Daily Mirror reports that Leicester winger DEMARAI GRAY has asked for assurances from Leicester over his prospects of first-team football after Liverpool and Tottenham have shown interest in the 21-year-old. Gray found last season "tough" after making only nine starts for the Foxes and shone for England Under-21s, scoring twice as they reached the semi-finals of the European Championships.

Stoke boss Mark Hughes wants to bring in Manchester City midfielder FABIAN DELPH on loan, writes the Stoke Sentinel. Delph has made only two appearances for City since Pep Guardiola took over as manager and Hughes is keen to add to his midfield for the new season.

ONLINE/SOCIAL ROUND-UP

@TheSunFootball: Gabriel Jesus set to miss pre-season matches on US tour.

@BBCSport: Kelechi Iheanacho is close to completing a £25m move to Leicester.

@DailyStar_Sport: Liverpool suffer transfer blow in pursuit of Naby Keita: Leipzig won't sell "key players."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

RUBEN LOFTUS-CHEEK: Brighton and Newcastle are battling it out to sign the Chelsea midfielder on a season-long loan, according to the Sun.

ALVARO MORATA: The Sun reports that Chelsea have turned their interest to the Real Madrid star after Manchester United appeared to be on the brink of signing Lukaku.

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