Premier League giants Liverpool have reportedly given up on RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita, after numerous failed bids for the 22-year-old midfielder.
According to a report by the Daily Mail, the Reds have given up their hopes of landing the Guinea international this summer and are now focusing their energies on other prospects, after the German club’s refusal to do business with Jurgen Klopp & co, in spite of the astronomical sums on offer.
Liverpool have had a fairly decent transfer window so far, signing Mohamed Salah from Roma, Andrew Robertson from Hull City and Dominic Solanke from Chelsea. However, Keita was one of their main targets and they were reportedly willing to smash their transfer record for to land him.
Keita recorded 8 goals and 8 assists in 32 appearances across all competitions last season and he was an integral part of the RB Leipzig side that took the Bundesliga by storm in their very first season in the German top flight, finishing at second place behind Bayern Munich.
His dynamic performances in the middle of the park for Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side saw him get linked with a number of European giants. Arsenal, PSG, Chelsea, Manchester City and Bayern Munich were all rumoured to be interested. But, Liverpool’s interest was the strongest.
The 22-year-old Keita, who has 3 seasons left on his current contract, was said to be willing to come to Anfield this summer and play under Klopp. But, it seems as if he will have to settle for another season at the Red Bull Arena after Die Bullen’s insistence on keeping him at the club.
RB Leipzig Sporting Director Ralf Rangnick recently made it clear that the club wouldn’t be letting Keita leave, even if there were ‘five more offers’ for him and that it was extremely important that the midfielder was at the club for the coming season.
As per the Guardian, he had stated, “Even if there are still five more offers, this will not change our position. Perhaps not all have understood this. Even if the player were a classic car, I would not sell him as a classic car. He knows that I appreciate him a lot.”
This is the second major setback Liverpool have faced this summer, after missing out on Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, who is being kept at St.Mary’s against his wish. The Reds had to later issue a public apology to Southampton, for what they described as a ‘misunderstanding’.
However, the Reds have reportedly made peace with the fact that they won’t be able to bring the former RB Salzburg midfielder to Anfield this summer, and are now in the hunt for other players to boost their midfield as they prepare for their return to the UEFA Champions League.
They were most recently reported to have reignited their interest in Schalke 04 midfielder Leon Goretzka, due to the lack of progress in their pursuit of Keita, and they are set to battle the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City amongst others in order to land the 22-year-old German international.
All is not lost for Liverpool though, as they can make another push for Keita next summer should they wish. The terms of his contract reportedly state that his release clause can be activated next year, meaning that the 22-year-old may be very well strutting his stuff at Merseyside in 12 months’ time.