Reports in Germany have described Naby Keita as “unhappy” at Liverpool with an exit possible, though journalists on Merseyside have rejected claims of a move.
Keita is now into his fifth season at Anfield and, as a once-record signing, the Guinean has struggled to impose himself as many had hoped.
The 27-year-old has made 117 appearances for the club, with 72 of those starts, and last season brought his highest tally of games at 40.
Injuries have blighted Keita’s time at Liverpool, and suggestions that the club are looking to tie him down to a new long-term contract this summer can rightly be questioned.
According to Sky Germany journalist Florian Plettenberg, the No. 8 may not be willing to agree an extension with the Reds either way, as he is “unhappy with his current situation.”
Excl. News Naby #Keita: He is unhappy with his current situation in Liverpool. There were talks about a contract extension but they have stopped now. His departure is possible regardless of Thiago and Oxlade-Chamberlain. But early stage. Talks will take place. #LFC @SkySportDE ??
— Florian Plettenberg (@Plettigoal) August 17, 2022
“There were talks about a contract extension but they have stopped now,” Plettenberg wrote on Twitter.
“His departure is possible regardless of [injuries to] Thiago and [Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain.”
However, he did add that it is at an “early stage” and “talks will take place” in a bid to resolve the matter with Keita.
The significance of this report is that Plettenberg also broke the news of Bayern Munich’s interest in Sadio Mane earlier in the summer, with it clear that his source came from the agency Mane and Keita share.
It is interesting too, then, that journalists on Merseyside have moved to quash speculation over Keita’s position – just as they did with Mane.
GOAL‘s Neil Jones was among those to dismiss claims that the player could depart this summer, writing hours after Plettenberg’s report that “if Keita is unhappy or disillusioned, then that has not been communicated to the club.”
Liverpool are said to have “no intention” in allowing their midfielder to leave, with Jones revealing interest from former club RB Leipzig, and their plan is “to keep Keita, both this season and beyond.”
“The intention, rather, is to thrash out a new four-year deal with Keita,” he writes, “who retains the full backing of manager Jurgen Klopp and who is viewed, fully fit and at his best, as part of Liverpool’s strongest XI.”
Of course, this follows a familiar pattern, with sources within Liverpool briefing local journalists the contrary to reports abroad to dampen speculation.
But as shown with the swiftly developing situation over Mane’s future earlier in the summer, there is every chance that Keita does, in fact, wish to leave – and if he does, a replacement would almost certainly be sought.