Liverpool are yet to submit a bid for top target Naby Keita – but reports in the German media suggest RB Leipig have told the Reds their ‘breaking point’.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have made the Guinean midfielder their top transfer this summer, but the value of the 22-year-old appears to have risen from £35million in the spring to what looks like being double that price.
Leipzig however, who finished second in their maiden season in the Bundesliga and could face Liverpool in the Champions League this season, have always maintained the player is not for sale.
But with the player reportedly setting his heart on a move to Anfield and scheduled to hold talks over his future with Leipzig this week, Bild claim they do, however, have a breaking point.
And the German newspaper say Liverpool will be given permission to speak with the player if they meet their asking price – but they won’t do business for anything less than £70million.
Bild also report that as yet there is no official offer for Keita, but with two months of the transfer window remaining, the situation could change – just as it did for Sadio Mane at Red Bull Salzburg in 2014.
The paper adds that the Guinea international has returned to training earlier than his teammates in a bid to maintain his form from last season and ensure he hits the ground running if and when a move to Anfield materialises.
Hamann on Naby Keita
“I knew about him before he signed for Leipzig from Salzburg as he was one of the most highly rated young players in the Austrian league,” Hamann said.
“I saw him quite a lot last season and he had an outstanding season. He made a big impression in the Bundesliga.
“Signing for a promoted side, no-one knew what to expect and he was under the radar for a lot of people. But in the second half of the season everyone knew about him and still couldn’t stop him. Leipzig were the closest challengers to Bayern Munich and he had a huge impact.
“He reminds me of N’Golo Kante. I’m not sure he wins quite as many balls as Kante, but in terms of technical ability and getting involved further forward he’s more gifted than Kante.
“Kante is a holding midfielder who doesn’t really create or score. But Keita can really play. He can play two positions – deeper or more advanced.
“He isn’t shy about putting a shift in. He’s strong in the tackle and he’s got good feet. Going forward, he’s clever with his runs.
“He’s pretty sharp and uses his body well with a low centre of gravity.
“It’s rare that you get a midfielder these days with those kind of all-round talents.
“People talk about box to box midfielders but it gets harder and harder because the game is too quick now. Few midfielders can affect a game at both ends but he’s one of them.”