RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita is under consideration for a move to Liverpool in the summer, as Jurgen Klopp eyes further targets.
Keita is only in his first season with Leipzig, having joined from sister club Red Bull Salzburg in the summer, but has been a considerable success with the Bundesliga side.
He has played 20 games in the German top flight so far, scoring four goals and assisting a further seven, garnering attention from around Europe.
According to Goal’s Melissa Reddy, this includes Liverpool, with Klopp turning his attention to the 22-year-old as he looks to add to his midfield ranks ahead of 2017/18.
Capable of operating both as a defensive midfielder or in a more progressive role further forward, Keita would bolster Klopp’s ranks significantly.
He would follow in the footsteps of Sadio Mane, who left Salzburg for Southampton in 2014, before leaving to join the Reds two years later.
The duo share the same agent, which could serve as a bargaining chip in what could prove to be a difficult negotiation for Liverpool.
Bayern Munich, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund are all credited with interest in Keita, while Leipzig are also pushing to secure a new contract with the youngster.
Liverpool made a concerted effort to sign Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Mahmoud Dahoud last summer, and were also pursuing then-Udinese dynamo Piotr Zielinski before his move to Napoli.
Keita could serve as an alternative to the pair if Klopp is searching for another player in the middle of the park this summer, with his versatility a useful asset for the Reds.
Klopp’s 4-3-3 system this term has required a pair of box-to-box midfielders, and Keita could take up a similar role to Georginio Wijnaldum, providing a balance between defence and attack.
He could also take up Jordan Henderson‘s duties as Liverpool’s No. 6, given he has spent much of the season operating deep in the Leipzig midfield.
With Emre Can‘s future up in the air at this stage, too, Keita could provide a replacement for the German, who has 16 months left on his contract with no breakthrough in discussions yet.
Keita’s emergence as an option for the Reds this summer should be an encouraging sign, underlining the positive steps Klopp and his recruitment team are making in the market.