Leipzig's Naby Deco Keita celebrates the 4:0 goal during the Bundesliga soccer match between RB Leipzig and Darmstadt 98 at the Red Bull Arena in Leipzig, Germany, 1 April 2017. (EMBARGO CONDITIONS - ATTENTION: Due to the accreditation guidlines, the DFL only permits the publication and utilisation of up to 15 pictures per match on the internet and in online media during the match.) Photo: Jan Woitas/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa

RB Leipzig manager makes bold statement about future of Liverpool target Naby Keita

RB Leipzig manager Ralph Hasenhuttl believes Naby Keita‘s celebrations following the club’s Champions League qualification mean he’s set to stay.

Keita is widely acknowledged as one of Jurgen Klopp‘s priority targets for the summer transfer window, after a stunning breakthrough campaign at Leipzig.

Having joined from sister-club Red Bull Salzburg last summer, Keita has scored eight and assisted eight in 29 games in the Bundesliga.

This has helped Leipzig to second in the table, and following Saturday’s 4-1 win away to Hertha Berlin, they have now guaranteed qualification for the Champions League group stages.

After promotion from 2.Bundesliga last summer, this marks an incredible rise for the controversial club, and the joy was clear to see at full-time.

And Hasenhuttl, reflecting on his side’s triumph and the ramifications on the shaping of his squad, feels this should keep Keita at the Red Bull Arena.

“He feels well, and we love him. We are a super exciting club,” he told Leipziger Volkszeitung.

“Naby sees how much the coach invests to make him better.

“If I take the celebrations as a benchmark, Naby will stay with us forever. You just don’t just leave a squad like ours.”

Leipzig sealing their place in next season’s Champions League is a blow to Liverpool’s hopes, with their own potential qualification less of a lure to Keita.

The 22-year-old is still yet to fully commit to Leipzig, however, explaining before the trip to Berlin that he would discuss his future with the club 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.”

What is certain, though, is that it would take a big-money bid to prise Keita from his current club, with director of sports Ralf Rangnick focussed on preparing Leipzig for Europe’s elite.

“When we play in the Champions League, we’ll have to strengthen the squad,” he explained.

“Whether three or four new additions will be enough, I do not know. Perhaps we’ll need five or six and we need more quality across the board.”

Nothing is totally clear at this stage, but with Keita also touted with a move to the likes of Chelsea and Bayern Munich, it will be a difficult deal for the Reds to seal.

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