Monday 11 December 2017

Liverpool must pay £70m for Naby Keita from RB Leipzig as Jurgen Klopp eyes second of seven summer signings

Naby Keita
Naby Keita

Jack Austin

Liverpool must pay double what they paid for Mohamed Salah if they are to sign Naby Keita from RB Leipzig this summer, as Jurgen Klopp looks to push ahead for the second of his seven summer transfers.

Salah signed for £34.3m last week and Klopp is already moving onto his next target, after the Guinean’s fine debut season with Leipzig.

The Bundesliga runners-up have been quoted as wanting £70m for the midfielder, who Klopp wants to add more energy and dynamism to his midfield, given the extra games the Reds will be playing in the Champions League next season.

Leipzig were the surprise package in Germany last year as they themselves qualified for the Champions League for the first time in their history, leading to a number of their high-profile players trying to be poached by other European clubs.

Liverpool have been interested in Keita, who has won frequent comparisons to N’Golo Kante, all summer but according to German sports daily Bild, they must pay up to £70m for his services.

It comes only days after Leipzig’s CEO Oliver Mintzlaff insisted they would not be selling any of their stars this summer, including another Liverpool target Emil Forsberg, and insisted it would be “negligent” to do so.

“It would be negligent to sell one of our key players now,” he said last week.

“Emil and Naby are extremely talented and developing players. We are glad that we are able to keep up with their development as a club.

“And now we can prove ourselves in the Champions League in the coming season.”

As well as Keita, Klopp is also understood to be keen on Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, with the Gunners needing to sell this summer to keep their wage budget within Premier League rules if they are to keep Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.

Liverpool are also keeping tabs on Keita’s Leipzig teammate Timo Werner, after his goals fired the east German side into a second-place finish behind Bayern Munich.

Only three strikers scored more times than Werner’s 21 strikes over the course of the Bundesliga season and the Reds want a natural goalscorer to help deal with Champions League football.

Chelsea’s Dominic Solanke is already set to arrive at the end of his contract on July 1st, while Hull's Andrew Robertson is an option at left-back given James Milner had been forced to play there throughout this season.

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