By Matt Bullin
Liverpool are preparing a huge bid for Red Bull Leipzig ace Naby Keita, according to a report.
The Mirror claims that the Bundesliga outfit are desperate to hold onto the 22-year-old central midfielder who is valued at £70million, but the Reds want to open negotiations over a summer move.
It is said the Merseysiders are willing to smash their transfer record to sign Keita, having already broken it once this year when they signed Mohamed Salah from Roma in a £36.9million deal last week.
However, Leipzig chief executive Oliver Mintzlaff has said it would be “irresponsible” for the club to sell one of it’s star players ahead of its debut Champions League campaign next term.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has named the Guinea international as his number one midfield priority, and he hopes to twist Mintzlaff’s arm into selling.
Keita has seemed to be “lukewarm” to the Reds’ advances so far, as it appears he wants to play for one of Europe’s “very big clubs” such as Manchester City, Real Madrid or Barcelona.
He was one of Leipzig’s top performers last season, scoring an impressive eight goals in 31 Bundesliga outings, as well as providing eight assists.
Football Insider verdict
Klopp has been on Keita’s trail all summer and now it appears even a valuation of £70million is not going to put him off. The 22-year-old is able to play as a defensive midfielder, as a box-to-box midfielder and even as an attacking midfielder – versatility would make him perfect for the German’s side. He was one of Leipzig’s leading performers last term, and was a real goal threat from the middle of the park. £70million seems steep for any player, so the Reds will hope there is wiggle room on the fee for a midfielder who would undoubtedly improve their squad.
In other Liverpool transfer news, they have suffered a blow in their chase to sign this £44million ace.