Friday 14 December 2018

'There's no reason to let Naby Keita leave early and that's the way it will be'

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

Carl Markham

RB Leipzig are determined to resist any approach from Liverpool for midfielder Naby Keita to move to Anfield earlier than scheduled.

The Reds have an agreement in place for the Guinea international to join them in July, having paid a premium to secure his services before a £48million buy-out became active in the summer.

However, following the sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for £142million, Jurgen Klopp would welcome an agreement for the midfielder to arrive this month, albeit with another additional fee to pay even though he would be ineligible for the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Press Association Sport understands the club wish to retain a good relationship with the Bundesliga side and will not force the issue.

While there have been reports in Germany the player is keen to move now, RB Leipzig head coach Ralph Hasenhuttl has dismissed the chances of a departure.

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"The situation hasn't changed," Hasenhuttl told his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday's meeting with second-placed Schalke.

"We have always said that there's no reason to let Keita leave early and that's the way it will be.

"Keita will play against Schalke this weekend and hopefully he'll play well. That's the only thing I'm interested in."

The final fee Liverpool will pay for Keita is dependent on Leipzig's final league position.

Should they qualify for the Champions League the midfielder will cost the Reds £66m, with the price £10m less should they only make the Europa League.

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