Monday 18 December 2017

Why Liverpool may be forced to wait until transfer deadline day to sign €80m Naby Keita from RB Leipzig

Naby Keita of Leipzig celebrates his team's third goal during the Bundesliga match between 1. FSV Mainz 05 and RB Leipzig at Opel Arena on April 5, 2017 in Mainz, Germany. (Photo by Simon Hofmann/Getty Images)
Naby Keita of Leipzig celebrates his team's third goal during the Bundesliga match between 1. FSV Mainz 05 and RB Leipzig at Opel Arena on April 5, 2017 in Mainz, Germany. (Photo by Simon Hofmann/Getty Images)

Jack Austin

Liverpool could be forced to wait until the final day of the transfer window if they are to sign Naby Keita from RB Leipzig, given how Sadio Mane’s move to Southampton unfolded in 2014.

Jurgen Klopp is desperate to sign the 22-year-old as he sees him as the all-action midfielder his team needs, combining power and energy with a slick passing ability.

The Independent understands that Keita wants to leave Leipzig for the Reds but the Bundesliga runners-up have told the Anfield club that they must stump up £70m for him.

Leipzig have not publically made any noises that they will be willing to sell Keita, with their chief executive this week stating he found the situation “boring” and he was confident the club would be “immune” to any bids for the Guinean.

However, the Reds can look to the patience deployed by Southampton when signing current Liverpool forward Mane three years ago for hope that Leipzig’s reluctance to sell will be worn down.

Leipzig’s current sporting director Ralf Rangnick was in charge at the Germans’ sister club Red Bull Salzburg when Mane was pushing for a move throughout the summer transfer window of 2014.

Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund were among the names linked with a move for the Senegal international but Rangnick was adamant that Mane would not be sold under any circumstances.

However, Rangnick waited until Mane forced the move by refusing to play for Salzburg before he eventually allowed him to join the Saints on deadline day in a £10m.

Now the situation seems almost identical, given that not only Rangnick is making the same noises about Keita while in the position of power at Leipzig, but also that the midfielder shares an agent with Mane.

This could prove helpful to Liverpool’s cause given that the pair’s representative Bjorn Bezemer knows how to force through a move against Rangnick’s will – although there is no indication Keita will take the same approach as Mane.

So often players are reluctant to hand in transfer requests so loyalty payments are triggered but that is what may have to be done if Keita is to force through a move to Anfield and achieve the big-club move he wants this summer.

(© Independent News Service)

Independent News Service

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport