The future of Naby Keita at Liverpool continues to pose question marks to those in control at Liverpool – and now Fabrizio Romano has come clean on the Reds’ plans around the player in the January transfer window.
The Guinean midfielder arrived at Anfield in summer 2018 under a huge wave of expectations. Costing £52.75m, the highly-rated midfielder had earned a big reputation in the Bundesliga with some all-action displays for RB Leipzig.
However, despite taking the much-coveted No 8 shirt at Anfield, Keita has proved hugely underwhelming. Now in his fifth season at Anfield, Keita has managed just 117 appearances in that time. Indeed, injuries have ravaged his chances of ever getting a consistent run in the side.
And with his deal due to expire at the end of the season, reports are indicating that Keita is in no hurry to extend that deal.
As a result, Liverpool stand to lose the fourth-most costly signing in their history on a free transfer next summer. To that end, it’s easy to see why Keita takes his place on the biggest transfer mistakes of the FSG era.
Of course, there is another option for Liverpool to explore, that being a cut-price January sale for Keita. Indeed, by cashing in now, the Reds could still expect to fetch around £15m – £20m for the star if a suitor could be found.
And with the 27-year-old yet to make a competitive appearance this season, there are plenty who feel that he will hardly be missed.
However, Fabrizio Romano insists Reds boss Jurgen Klopp is wholly against the idea of parting ways with Keita in January.
Liverpool’s midfield resources have been well stretched already this season. And while Keita’s absence has added to that problem, Klopp does not want to further reduce his resources.
Naby Keita January sale at Liverpool ruled out
As such, the Italian transfer guru is adamant that Keita will remain at Anfield until the end of the season.
“To sell players you always need the right proposals,” Romano told Caught Offside. “At the moment, there are no official negotiations or bids yet so it’s still quiet.”
Addressing Keita’s situation specifically, the Italian added: “I’m told that, despite speculation, they are not planning for Naby Keita to leave in January, as things stand.”
Our feature looked at the five players who can leave Anfield on a free in 2023, with Keita obviously the most prominent.
However, there are two other big names on that list in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Nat Phillips.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is another star who has seen his time at Anfield ruined by injuries. Done well when called upon, the former Arsenal man has, however, perhaps failed to justify his hefty £35m.
Phillips, meanwhile, remains highly regarded by Klopp. Indeed, Phillips’ contributions are not forgotten after stepping into the side following an injury crisis two seasons ago. However, he has slipped down the pecking order now and appears finally likely to leave.
And Romano says the pair may be offloaded in the winter window if the club can find replacements.
“With Nat Phillips and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, it depends on the bids. Also, it depends if Liverpool will be able to find replacements for them.”
West Ham are reportedly keen on both Liverpool players.