Liverpool are to gamble on missing out on other potential transfer targets by reportedly launching a final take-it-or-leave it £70million offer for Naby Keita.
RB Leipzig on Wednesday went public after claiming they had rejected a second offer from Liverpool of £66million for the Guinea midfielder, who is Jurgen Klopp’s top transfer this summer.
The Bundesliga side have vehemently insisted that Keita will not be allowed to leave the club and Leipzig owner Dietrich Mateschitz, speaking to German publication Sportbild, said: “Recently, a €75million offer for Naby Keita came into the club.
“[We said] no way. He still has a contract, and he will fulfill it.
“To sell him would not only be a proof of mistrust for our fans, but also the wrong sign for our other players, such as Timo Werner, who are also in demand.
“We do not sell players who are still under contract just to make a lot of money.”
When questioned about the bid, Klopp, who turned to cookery during one of his many public appearances while the Reds are on tour in Hong Kong, said: “What do you know? £66million turned down today? Are we in Macau?”
But the Liverpool manager has still not given up on signing Keita and is reportedly ready to sanction a final approach to Leipzig over Keita in the hope that it will see them bow to their demands.
The gamble though could be a pricey one for the Reds. Their incessant chasing of Keita could see them miss out on their Plan B target, which on Wednesday was revealed as Geoffrey Kondogbia.
The French midfielder is set to leave Inter Milan in the coming days, with Valencia believed to have had an offer accepted by the Serie A side. Liverpool would have the financial clout to match Valencia’s bid if required, but they won’t bid on other targets while they still believe they have a chance of landing Keita.
A decision on the Merseysiders’ next move will be made early next week.
But while Klopp and his squad are out in Hong Kong, sporting director Michael Edwards has remained in England trying to keep the lines of communications open.
The player has a buyout clause of £50m but that will only become active next summer. Liverpool hope, perhaps foolishly, that Leipzig will bow to pressure and allow Keita to move when their next bid of £70million is launched.