“If that happens…” – What Klopp has said on transfers amid Naby Keita exit claims

With Naby Keita seemingly open to leaving Liverpool this summer, Jurgen Klopp may have already hinted that plans for a new midfield signing could change.

For much of the summer, Klopp has been adamant that there would be no further additions to his Liverpool squad.

Darwin Nunez, Fabio Carvalho and Calvin Ramsay were believed to be the club’s only signings, with the focus turning to securing sales and loan moves in the final weeks of the window.

Injuries throughout the squad have heightened calls to bring in further reinforcements, but the manager has maintained that he is comfortable with the players he has available and no short-term solutions would be sought.

That may have now changed, with Sky Germany’s Florian Plettenberg reporting that Keita is “unhappy with his current situation” and, though “talks will take place,” a “departure is possible.”

SINGAPORE - Friday, July 15, 2022: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (R) celebrates with team-mate Naby Keita (L) after scoring the second goal the Standard Chartered Trophy pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at the Singapore National Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Crucially, the chances of the No. 8 moving on – with RB Leipzig among the clubs interested – are said to be “regardless of [injuries to] Thiago and [Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain.”

If Keita does push for the exit, then, it is almost certain that Liverpool will change strategy – as Klopp explained back in July.

“I don’t think something will happen in midfield, but you never know,” he told journalists including GOAL‘s Neil Jones.

“If somebody comes to you and says ‘I want to go’, then…

“Nobody came to me yet – but if that happens then we have to talk new.”

Two weeks later, in an interview with Sky Sports during Liverpool’s training camp in Austria, the manager repeated: “If nobody wants to leave, we are done.”

LEIPZIG, GERMANY - Thursday, July 21, 2022: Liverpool's Naby Keita during a pre-season friendly match between RB Leipzig and Liverpool FC at the Red Bull Arena. Liverpool won 5-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

That would suggest that any transfer for Keita would see the club target an immediate replacement – as was the case when Sadio Mane opted for a move to Bayern Munich.

Within a week of Merseyside journalists confirming Mane’s desire to leave, there were concrete reports of interest in Nunez, with a deal wrapped up before the Senegalese officially departed for Germany.

There will already be a list of midfield targets written up, as is always the case among Liverpool’s recruitment staff, and top of that list will almost certainly be Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham.

It was widely expected that a deal for Bellingham would be sought next summer, when his club will be more open to a sale.

But perhaps now Keita has – at least privately – expressed unhappiness at his situation, that could be fast-tracked.