Liverpool are set to return to RB Leipzig “in the coming week” with an improved bid for Naby Keita after they saw a £57 million offer turned down by the Bundesliga club.
According to Kristian Walsh of the Liverpool Echo, the midfielder is the Reds’ “first-choice target” during the summer transfer window, and they will continue to test Leipzig’s resolve.
Per Walsh, RB Leipzig manager Ralph Hasenhuttl told Kicker:
“You can tell them (the interested clubs) that they feel very comfortable and look forward to the new season. They know very well what they have with us.
“Our goal is to become a large and established club. It is a huge compliment for us that we have aroused such desires. But it is not the purpose and purpose of our journey to let our players get their first offer.
“Our goal is to become a large and established club, and that is what we have done this summer, a significant step towards it.”
Leipzig are determined to keep hold of Keita, and sporting director Ralf Rangnick has said there is “no pain threshold” at which they will sell him.
Their desire to keep him is understandable given how crucial a role he played in the team’s sensational campaign last year, in which they finished second in the Bundesliga.
The 22-year-old would bring an abundance of energy and dynamism into Liverpool’s engine room, and his willingness to press and close down opponents relentlessly would make him a fine fit under Reds boss Jurgen Klopp.
His desire to drive the team forward also saw him score eight goals and assist seven last season, having created 40 chances and completed an unrivalled 83 take-ons in midfield, per Squawka.
Squawka Football provided a closer look at his talents:
Squawka Football @Squawka
#SquawkaScout: Naby Keita. 💪
Strengths & weaknesses 🤔
Clubs interested 💰
Playing style 👊 https://t.co/VLIR6sK6RZ
Football writer Joseph Musker is also a keen admirer of the star:
Joseph Musker @JosephMusker
A reminder that Naby Keïta was voted second behind Robert Lewandowski as Bundesliga Player of the Year last season. He is still only 22.
He would undoubtedly make a superb capture for Liverpool, but thus far Leipzig have remained true to their word.
It’s worthwhile Liverpool continuing their pursuit of him should the German club relent, but they would also do well to prepare themselves for the possibility that he will simply not be available this summer.