WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Tuesday, January 17, 2023: Liverpool's Naby Keita during the FA Cup 3rd Round Replay match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Liverpool FC at Molineux Stadium. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Naby Keita’s likely next club emerges – midfielder “very open” to joining

Naby Keita departs Liverpool on a free transfer this summer, and the midfielder is now expected to return to Germany, with positive talks held.

One of four senior players released at the end of the season, Keita saw the early promise of his time at Anfield fade dramatically over five years.

Unlike Roberto Firmino and James Milner, there was little fanfare when the Guinean bid farewell to the club, such was the disappointment at his £52.75 million output.

Keita remains a high-profile player, though, and it stands to reason that a number of sides would be weighing up moves for him this summer.

According to Sky Germany, Bundesliga side Werder Bremen are at the front of the queue, having already held talks with Keita and his representatives.

The 28-year-old is said to be “very open” to joining Werder, who finished 13th in the German top flight this past season.

On Twitter, journalist Florian Plettenberg described the talks as “positive,” and SPORT1’s Patrick Berger added that Keita is “prepared to take a significant drop in salary.”

BILD go so far as to claim a medical is planned for next week and the player will sign a three-year contract.

Leipzig's Naby Keita (L) celebrates after scoring the 0-1 lead with team-mate Timo Werner during the Bundesliga soccer match between Hamburg SV and RB Leipzig in the Volksparkstadium in Hamburg, Germany, 08 September 2017. Photo: Daniel Reinhardt/dpa

It remains to be seen whether other interest emerges, though, with both RB Leipzig and Dortmund linked with the midfielder in the past.

Friday saw Konrad Laimer finally complete his free transfer from Leipzig to Bayern Munich, and a return to the Red Bull Arena – where he spent two years before joining Liverpool – to replace the Austrian could appeal to Keita.

Dortmund have already sanctioned a deal for Jude Bellingham to join Real Madrid, while Mahmoud Dahoud is joining Brighton on a free transfer.

Whether either club would gamble on a player whose ongoing fitness issues plagued his time on Merseyside, however, is uncertain.