Liverpool have joined Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain in the race to sign RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita, as per reports
According to a report by Melissa Reddy for Goal, Liverpool have set their sights on Naby Keita and are considering a summer move for the RB Leipzig lynchpin. The powerhouse midfielder has also been linked with the likes of Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain recently.
The 22-year-old Guinea international has made quite an impact for the Bundesliga new boys since making a €15 million switch from Leipzig’s sister club Red Bull Salzburg this past summer. So much so, that Keita has been one of the most instrumental figures for the club in their charge up to be second in the Bundesliga table.
Quite the dynamo in the centre of the park, Keita has made an impression with his pacy recovery, agility while dealing with the opposition attack, discipline, anticipation and smart reading of the game. The numbers prove that too, with Keita averaging 3.23 tackles, 3.29 interceptions and 10.13 recoveries per game.
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And although primarily a holding midfielder, Keita has also been a steady contributor in attack, initiating counter attacks with quick rotation of the ball from midfield and smart retention of possession, while also chipping in with four goals and seven assists in just 21 appearances in all competitions.
His stellar performances for Leipzig have seen Keita being rated as one of the most promising young players in Europe, and the clubs are starting to circle around him as well. Arsenal and PSG are both interested in signing a midfielder in the summer and have been linked with a move for Keita.
Arsene Wenger does have an abundance of central midfielders at his disposal at Arsenal, but the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Mohamed Elneny have flattered to deceive this season, while Francis Coquelin is enduring a below par campaign. Granit Xhaka has blown hot and cold as well, while Santi Cazorla is battling injury problems.
With little clarity on the future of Jack Wilshere at the Emirates Stadium beyond this season, it goes without saying that the Arsenal manager could do with a midfield reinforcement come June, and a player of Keita’s qualities fits the bill.
Meanwhile, PSG manager Unai Emery also has the riches at his disposal at Parc des Princes. But with both Marco Verratti and Adrien Rabiot being linked with moves away from the French capital, the PSG boss could be forced into the market for a central midfielder in the summer.
Naby Keïta (22)
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But it looks like the two European heavyweights are likely to be joined by Liverpool in pursuit of Keita in the summer, with Jurgen Klopp also keen on the 22-year-old. Unlike the two aforementioned clubs, Klopp doesn’t have the depth in midfield, with his side heavily dependent on Jordan Henderson’s influence in the centre of the park.
Keita, who is in a similar mould as that of Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante, would not only ease the burden off Henderson’s shoulders, but also represent a perfect fit in Klopp’s high pressing system, with Leipzig manager Ralph Hasenhuttl also implementing a similar style at the Red Bull Arena.
It is important to note, though, that Keita signed a contract until 2020 when he moved to Bundesliga at the start of the season. And with three of the biggest clubs in Europe interested in signing him, he could command a hefty fee, with Leipzig themselves interested in improving his deal at the club.
However, one factor that is working in Liverpool’s favour is that Keita is represented by the same group as Sadio Mane. And the agency, who usually favour the right project instead of the financial riches, have been left impressed by Liverpool’s treatment of the Senegalese and could pick the Reds for Keita as well.
It now remains to be seen if Keita indeed makes a move away from Leipzig having impressed immensely since the move to Germany. With some of the biggest clubs interested in him, this could turn into an all-out bidding war in the summer.