"It could be a formality" - Chris Williams on Naby Keita Deal
Liverpool have been given a significant boost in their pursuit of RB Leipzig’s superstar midfielder Naby Keita, with the East German side’s resolve cracking according to Bundesliga journalist Chris Williams.
Liverpool had a €65 million bid rejected by Leipzig on Thursday, according to BILD. However, after continually affirming that the Guinean international wasn’t for sale, some Leipzig officials appear to be more accepting of the transfer now due to the exorbitant money Liverpool are willing to offer.
“Their stance seems to have softened.” Chris Williams said on the Gags Tandon Show podcast. “There appears to be a split in the camp, with a few of the opinion that even though [they] don’t need money, you can’t turn down that sort of cash.”
This information comes via multiple sources in Leipzig, who confirmed that Keita’s sale is looking more and more likely, with some going even further.
“Someone in Leipzig even thinks that it would now be a formality that Keita joins Liverpool,” Chris said, while also re-affirming Keita’s desire for the move.
“He desperately wants to come to Liverpool, I can’t say that more emphatically. He’s not the type of guy who’ll go in banging desks, he’s a very humble guy who’s had to fight hard to get where he is. Not motivated by money but motivated by success, he wants to be the best African footballer that’s ever lived. He wants to come to Liverpool, but there are aspects in the club that don’t want to sell him.”
“You can’t underestimate how much Naby wants to come to Liverpool, but you can’t underestimate the resolve that Leipzig wants to keep him.”
The news will come as a huge boost to Liverpool fans, given Leipzig Sporting Director Ralf Rangnick’s insistence that they won’t be selling any of their players.
Their exact words were, “There’s no price tag on Naby, Mr Rangnick has said he’s not for sale” Chris told the Gags Tandon show, speaking about a conversation he’d had earlier in the summer. Now, however, that hard-line stance seems to be held only by a certain sector, at odds with others in the administration.
“There seems to be a thawing of the resolve”. The news also comes conveniently after news of Liverpool’s bid for Keita was rejected. “If you keep being told that someone’s not for sale, you wouldn’t bid €65 million for him.
“The news that there’s been a bid, hasn’t come from Liverpool, but from Germany. That’s what makes me think, as well as who I’ve spoken to, that there’s a thawing on one side.”
The news is encouraging, to say the least, given the importance of this transfer in making Liverpool a true contender. Keita is, to put it lightly and briefly, and incredible midfielder capable of carrying a midfield on his back. He won’t need to do that, like he did in Leipzig, with Liverpool, given he’ll be accompanied by one of Jordan Henderson or Emre Can, and Phillipe Coutinho.
Keita’s ability to dribble past anyone, fire a perfectly weighted ball to a striker or pacey winger, and contribute an end product makes him one of – if not the – most impressive young midfielders in the world and his ability will only rise, given his season at Leipzig confirmed what he showed during his season in Austria. Yes, he will command a considerable fee, but given his influence and ability, it’ll be well worthwhile in a summer where value is being thrown out of the window.
If Liverpool are to pull this deal off, it’ll one of the signings of the summer. Chris certainly seems to think so too:
“If it were me, I’d pay it all in cash up front, because I’ve watched him that much…I’ve seen him drag a newly promoted side by the scruff of the neck and make them challenge for the Bundesliga title…In that area, there isn’t a better defensive midfielder who can also play centrally and in attacking midfield.”
You can also find a detailed scout report of Naby Keita written by this writer here.