Following Liverpool’s capture of Mohamed Salah, the focus quickly turned to Virgil van Dijk and Naby Keïta, the two other significant names who are very clearly on Jürgen Klopp’s shopping list. Discussion about the Southampton defender was clearly materializing only at the fringes, given the very public rebuke Liverpool endured over the nature of their dealings with van Dijk.
With Keïta, the obstacles have always been more straightforward: can the player be convinced to come, and can his current club be convinced to sell at a non-ludicrous price? The answer to the former question seems to be inching closer to yes, if it isn’t already there, and Liverpool may be planning on using the player’s preferences as leverage once they formally submit a bid - something which may happen soon, if reports from outlets in Guinea are to be believed.
Amadou Makadji of Foot224.net, which covers Guinea football, set supporters’ pulses racing with a series of tweets in which he suggested that a conversation between Klopp and Keïta will be a prelude to the pressure being ratcheted up significantly on RB Leipzig. According to Makadji, a formal offer is expected to come from Liverpool on Sunday evening, to be followed by a proverbial round of clear-the-air “talks” between the player and his club’s president on Monday.
While the public declarations of resolve on RB Leipzig’s part have been noticeably less resolute as this pursuit drags on, the Bundesliga club are still in a not-completely-terrible negotiating position. Keïta’s contract still has a healthy remaining term, and his club can, like Liverpool, offer Champions League football. The factors in Liverpool’s favor include the prospect of substantially enhanced personal terms (in the region of €150,000 per week according to Makadji) and the club’s secret weapon: the powerfully persuasive Klopp.
If the various noises have any substance to them, Liverpool supporters can probably expect to see more concrete news emerging in the coming week about the second significant acquisition of this summer. Either that, or another club apology.