Tuesday 20 August 2019

Revealed: How Liverpool beat Barcelona to the signing of Naby Keita

Naby Keita will join Liverpool next season
Naby Keita will join Liverpool next season

Luke Brown

The CEO of RB Leipzig has revealed how Liverpool managed to beat Barcelona to the signing of Naby Keita.

The Guinea international was a top transfer target for clubs all across Europe this summer, but it was Liverpool who won the race for his signature.

The Reds had three bids for Keita rebuffed before Leipzig finally accepted a £55m offer in the final few days of the transfer window.

Keita is set to join his new club next summer and Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff has revealed that it was Liverpool's persistence that saw them secure Keita's signature.

Asked whether Liverpool's determination to sign Keita gave them an advantage over Barcelona, Mintzlaff replied: "That's right, even more so because Barcelona were also interested in Naby Keita.

"This was confirmed to us by Barcelona, but obviously they didn't try as hard as Liverpool."

Mintzlaff added that Keita was desperate to force through a move to Anfield but that the club had to put up a show of force to deter other players from handing in untimely transfer requests.

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"Keita wanted the transfer this summer," he added. "But [sporting director] Ralf Rangnick had told the team that we will not sell any players [at that time].

"This was not lip service - it was set in stone. Had we released Keita, other players might have come up with a similar idea.

"It (the Liverpool deal) gave the player more security, but also left us with a significantly higher transfer fee."

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