Liverpool could be set to intensify their pursuit of RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita next week, according to claims in the Guinean’s homeland.
EDIT: Paul Joyce of the Times has now corroborated these reports, saying Liverpool are likely to make a “structured pitch” worth up to £70 million.
Keita is Jurgen Klopp‘s priority following the opening of the summer transfer window, with the 22-year-old valued at £70 million by his current club.
With Klopp eager to add the midfielder to his ranks ahead of the 2017/18 campaign, the Reds are said to be set to make an approach this month.
And if reports from Keita’s home nation of Guinea are to be believed, Liverpool’s move for the No. 8 could progress next week.
According to Amadou Makadji of Foot224, Klopp spoke with Keita on Saturday, with the Reds set to bid for the youngster on Sunday evening, after the German gave the green light.
Klopp is said to have told Liverpool to sign Keita “whatever the cost,” and the player is due to meet with Leipzig figurehead Oliver Mintzlaff on Monday to discuss his departure.
Makadji even claims that the Reds have improved their contract offer to £130,000 a week.
This would ensure Keita is the club’s second-highest earner, behind Philippe Coutinho, who earns £150,000 a week.
Naturally, these claims should be taken with a pinch of salt, but Liverpool’s signing of Mohamed Salah earlier this summer do attest to the credibility of foreign sources.
Egyptian outlet KingFut brought regular updates on the Reds’ negotiations with both Salah and his former club, AS Roma, with the move developing steadily alongside them.
Furthermore, journalist Hady Elmedany even provided Salah’s flight details from Cairo to London, and Salah completed his £36.9 million switch three days later.
It would be impossible to compare the veracity of reports involving Salah’s move to Makadji’s claims, but they are certainly interesting.
Leipzig are unlikely to negotiate lower than their £70 million valuation of Keita, which would comfortably make him Liverpool’s record signing, at almost double that of Salah.
Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk is said to remain on Klopp’s radar, and it would require a similar outlay to secure his services.
Meanwhile, England midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has reportedly rejected a final contract offer from Arsenal, which could pave the way for a £25 million move to Merseyside.