RB Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick has rebuffed rumours linking midfielder Naby Keita with a summer exit from the club
RB Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick has insisted that midfielder Naby Keita will still be playing at the Red Bull Arena next season, amid interest from the likes of Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Arsenal, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.
As reported by the Liverpool Echo, Rangnick was speaking to Sport1 Doppelpass in Germany when he addressed speculation linking Keita with a summer exit from Leipzig. He said, “I don’t know anything about Bayern interest. Naby’s an extraordinary player who could play in any European top team.”
Rangnick further added that Keita has no reason to move if the Bundesliga newcomers make it to Europe as he said, “He’s still under contract for a long time yet. If we qualify for Europe, there’s also no reason why Nabi shouldn’t play for us next season.
“I don’t know if he’ll play for us for three or four more years. No one knows — we can’t all look into a crystal ball. But I think it’s very likely he’ll play for us next season.”
Keita has enjoyed a fine debut season for the East German club, having made a €15 million move from Leipzig’s sister club Red Bull Salzburg last summer. The Guinean has been sublime all through the campaign, with Leipzig taking the Bundesliga by storm in their rise up to second in the table.
Keita has played all but two German top flight games for Leipzig this season, and has made quite the name for himself as the dynamo in the centre of the park despite his diminutive frame. In addition to that, he has also bagged four goals and eight assists in 22 Bundesliga games.
His stellar performances haven’t just earned him praise in Germany, but have also seen him being linked with some top clubs across Europe. These include Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Arsenal, PSG and Barcelona with each of these clubs believed to be eyeing midfield reinforcements in the summer.
Xabi Alonso announced his retirement from football last week, and as a result, Carlo Ancelotti is scouting replacements for the veteran Spanish midfielder, thus placing Keita as a top target for the summer.
Meanwhile, at Liverpool, manager Jurgen Klopp is looking to bolster his squad in the summer, with options running thin for the German currently. Keita’s possible addition can help ease the burden off Jordan Henderson’s shoulders as well, with Klopp depending heavily on the Liverpool captain in the centre of the park.
At Arsenal, none of the midfielders have managed to make a mark with Francis Coquelin, Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny and Aaron Ramsey all being inconsistent this season. With Santi Cazorla being pegged back by injuries and uncertainty surrounding Jack Wilshere’s future, a midfield addition could become top priority.
Meanwhile, Barcelona are eyeing long-term replacements for Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta while PSG have Adrien Rabiot and Marco Verratti’s futures at the Parc des Princes mired in uncertainty.
However, all of these clubs are likely to face disappointment in their pursuit of Keita, with RB Leipzig clearly unmoved by speculation surrounding their prized asset, meaning they might have to set their sights elsewhere to sign a top quality midfielder in the summer.