Liverpool’s pursuit of RB Leipzig dynamo Naby Keita may have taken a blow, after it emerged that Bayern Munich are also in the running.
Keita was revealed to be a target for the Reds at the beginning of March, as Jurgen Klopp seeks further reinforcements in the middle of the park this summer.
The 22-year-old looks to have moved ahead Borussia Monchengladbach counterpart Mahmoud Dahoud on the German’s list of targets, after enjoying an excellent breakout campaign with Leipzig.
But according to the Liverpool Echo‘s James Pearce, it won’t be an easy task to convince Keita to move to Anfield.
Pearce claims that while the Reds have “heavily scouted” the midfielder, interest from a host of clubs around Europe, including Leipzig’s Bundesliga rivals Bayern, could present a challenge.
Borussia Dortmund, Atletico Madrid and Arsenal are also named as possible destinations for the Guinean, while Leipzig are eager to tie him down to a new long-term contract.
Liverpool will need to secure Champions League football next season if they are to stand any chance of competing with their lofty rivals.
Furthermore, it would likely take a big-money bid to prise Keita from Leipzig, given his importance to Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side.
Klopp could be looking to add to his midfield due to an impending departure, with Emre Can still yet to agree terms on an extension to his current contract.
The German’s deal is set to expire at the end of the 2017/18 campaign, and the Reds could look to sell if he doesn’t sign before the summer.
Previous reports have suggested Can’s representatives are asking for at least double his £35,000-a-week wage, though this would arguably still be a good deal for Liverpool.
Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum are Klopp’s first-choice midfielders at present, while Marko Grujic and Ovie Ejaria can expect to play regular roles in the future.
The addition of Keita, however, would boost the Reds’ options considerably, with the youngster possessing the quality required to shine in the Premier League.
Bayern’s interest is a major blow, however, with Carlo Ancelotti’s side capable of outgunning their Premier League rivals in the transfer market.
Alternatively, with Leipzig still challenging for the Bundesliga title this season, and looking set to continue their progress to become one of Germany’s biggest sides, Keita could opt to stay.
As with another target, Bayer Leverkusen’s Julian Brandt, it would be wise for Klopp to identify alternatives in the summer market—or risk further disappointment ahead of 2017/18.