While RB Leipzig are holding firm in Liverpool’s pursuit of Naby Keita, Sadio Mane‘s move to Southampton in 2014 hints at a future breakthrough.
The prospect of Keita becoming a Reds player before the end of the summer looked to have increased last week, following reports from his native Guinea.
Claimed to be set to meet Leipzig for talks over his future on Monday, the 22-year-old was expected to intimate his desire to leave the Red Bull Arena for Anfield.
Keita was even said to have agreed a £130,000-a-week contract with Liverpool, something corroborated by the Times‘ Paul Joyce.
However, according to German publication BILD, while Keita is in Leipzig a week before the start of pre-season training, he has not met with the club’s hierarchy.
But they continue to detail how Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick took a similar stance with Mane, when he was at the helm at sister-club Red Bull Salzburg.
Mane was pushing for a departure back in 2014, with Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund rumoured to be interested, but Rangnick was adamant he would not part ways with his star winger.
But Mane ultimately refused to play for Salzburg, and eventually joined Southampton on deadline day of the summer transfer window for £10 million.
Now at Liverpool, Mane shares an agent with Keita—which could prove influential in the Reds’ pursuit.
While there is no suggestion that Keita would take the same approach as Mane, their mutual representative could prompt this.
Taking to Twitter on Monday, ex-Liverpool striker Titi Camara claimed that his countryman had “his heart set” on a move to Merseyside, even suggesting he had requested the No. 8 shirt.
Having also reportedly agreed personal terms with the Reds, it is clear that Keita sees his future working under Jurgen Klopp.
What Mane’s departure from Salzburg shows, however, is that Liverpool may be forced to wait until late in the transfer window to secure on of Klopp’s priority targets.
Rangnick was willing to hold onto Mane for a lengthy period, before his resolve eventually cracked and he sanctioned a big-money move to the Premier League.
If history repeats itself with Keita, Liverpool will need to remain patient, and with Klopp determined to sign the midfielder, they are likely to do so.