A former Liverpool player let go over the summer has been labelled the ‘biggest loser’ at his new club, and the reason why is all too familiar to Reds fans.
Liverpool’s squad has overseen a gigantic transformation in recent years. Two of the fabled front three that helped end the club’s Premier League drought in 2020 departed in the form of Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
Elsewhere, no fewer than five established first-team midfielders left the club in the off-season. James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita walked away as free agents. Jordan Henderson (Al Ettifaq) and Fabinho (Al Ittihad) were lured to Saudi Arabia.
Regarding the free agents, Keita left with the biggest sense of ‘what if’.
Much was expected of the Guinea international when Liverpool pounced 12 months early and paid a premium to trigger his his release clause in 2017. The Reds paid £52.75m to wrap up an agreement a whole season before he’d arrive at Anfield.
However, Keita’s time on Merseyside was beset by injuries from first year to last. In all, his five years at the club only resulted in 129 appearances across all competitions, equalling less than 26 per season.
There had been murmurs earlier in 2023 that Liverpool were open to offering Keita a new deal. However, Jurgen Klopp and co ultimately decided against that route, instead allowing the club’s fifth most expensive signing ever to leave for nothing.
Keita ultimately returned to Germany when joining Werder Bremen. However, his early days back in the Bundesliga have been heavily disrupted by injury.
Keita has made just a single start and three appearances in total for Werder Bremen. In his only start against Hoffenheim on October 7, Keita was forced off before the hour mark with a new muscle injury.
Now, German outlet BILD have run the rule on Keita and their write-up will make painful reading for the player.
Keita savaged in German press
BILD report Keita is expected to be sidelined for at least Bremen’s next two fixtures. As such, their headline somewhat savagely reads: “Keita is Werder’s biggest loser!”
His ‘susceptibility to injury’ has reared its ugly head once again and has also had an impact on his transfer valuation.
The latest update from online outlet Transfermarkt saw a reduction in Keita’s would-be transfer value from €12m to €9m.
Quotes are also carried from Werder Bremen manager, Ole Werner, in which it’s revealed the club had hoped Keita would assume an “important role”.
“It’s frustrating for him and for us,” said Werner. “There is a player missing who we have some hope in and who should play an important role.
“We now have to build him up and give him the best possible support in his recovery.”
Bremen are currently languishing down in 14th position in the Bundesliga and any hopes Keita would prove a masterstroke pick-up appear to have already been dashed.
Liverpool’s decision to sever ties and be willing to lose a once valuable player for nothing is looking wiser and wiser with each passing week.