Liverpool target Naby Keita won’t be leaving Bundesliga side RB Leizpig this summer, according to sporting director Ralf Rangnick.
Keita has emerged as a possible option for the Reds as they build for 2017/18, with Bayern Munich among the clubs also interested in signing the 22-year-old.
Enjoying a breakthrough season with Leipzig this term, after joining from Red Bull Salzburg last summer, Keita would be an excellent signing for the Reds.
But as Rangnick insisted this week, the Bundesliga surprise package are not willing to part ways with the midfielder.
“Naby’s an extraordinary player who could play in any top European team,” the 58-year-old said.
“[He has] no release clause in his contract [and] he’s still under contract for a long time yet.
“If we qualify for Europe, there’s also no reason why Naby 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.”
Leipzig are very likely to secure Champions League football for next season, putting them in a strong position as they seek to convince Keita his future lies at the Red Bull Arena.
That Liverpool would also face competition from the likes of Bayern if Keita does opt to leave suggests Jurgen Klopp would be wise to set his sights on other targets, too.
Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Mahmoud Dahoud was previously on Klopp’s radar, but his interest is said to have cooled.
But with the 21-year-old expected to make a decision over his future within the next fortnight, now would be the right time to make a late move if Klopp is ready to revive his pursuit.
Bayer Leverkusen winger Julian Brandt is another long-held target for Liverpool, but again there is no guarantee he would leave the BayArena for Anfield.
“I read in newspapers it was about money, but it isn’t about money,” he said.
“We’ve had a few good meetings and everything is fine. I just wanted to say it is never about the money. It is about the future, what happens.”
If Can did leave, it would magnify the need to sign another midfielder this summer, but whether that is Keita seems unlikely.