RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita, a priority target for Liverpool, is yet to commit his long-term future to the Bundesliga club—or decide on a move.
Keita is one of Jurgen Klopp‘s ideal signings for the summer, as the German looks to bolster his midfield with one of Europe’s breakout stars.
The 22-year-old has been an unequivocal success in his first season in the Bundesliga, having joined Leipzig from sister club Red Bull Salzburg last summer.
Despite largely operating in a roaming midfield role, Keita has scored eight goals and assisted eight more in 28 games in the German top flight.
This has sparked interest from a host of top clubs, with Liverpool facing a fight to secure his services if he opts to leave Leipzig.
It remains a big ‘if’ at this stage, with Leipzig looking to tie Keita down to a new contract, and the midfielder not agitating for a move.
Addressing the possibility of leaving the Red Bull Arena, Keita simply stressed that he would consider his options at the end of the season.
“I am here now and feel very comfortable. There are still three games to go, that’s what I’m concentrating on,” he told Bild.
“My agent takes care of everything else. When it’s time, I’ll discuss it with him and my family.”
This could be read as Keita keeping his options open, particularly given the prospect of joining a more established club among Europe’s elite.
Leipzig are likely to finish second in the Bundesliga this season, which would see them qualify for the Champions League – although there is the potential that they won’t be allowed to enter Europe’s elite competition due to UEFA rules about owners’ controlling more than one team in its competitions and Austrian team Red Bull Salzburg are set to win their league, thus qualifying them also.
Should Leipzig therefore not be entered into the Champions League, that could hasten Keita’s desire to move away.
Keita is an emblem of the club’s rapid development, and Bild claim Leipzig are willing to make him their highest earner, on over £70,000 a week.
But that he hasn’t openly committed to Leipzig at this stage is encouraging, and could present an opening for Liverpool in the transfer market.
The Reds could blow Leipzig’s contract offer out the water, with their own highest earner Philippe Coutinho signing a five-year, £150,000-a-week contract in January.
Recent renewals for Adam Lallana (£110,000 a week) and Dejan Lovren (£100,000 a week) highlight Liverpool’s ambition when securing their key players.
If there is a kernel of hope in Keita’s words, Klopp should take advantage and latch onto it, as the Guinean would be an ideal signing.