Given the way things had gone over the summer, it was already something of a surprise that Liverpool were able to convince RB Leipzig to part ways with Naby Keïta, even if the move would only be completed after the conclusion of this season. Would Liverpool supporters be even more excited if it were somehow possible for the influential midfielder to arrive earlier, say in January? Reports from the English press suggest that there’s an outside chance we could see the happen.
The Sunday Express, citing sportswriter and author of The Bundesliga Blueprint Lee Price, have suggested that under the right facts and circumstances, Liverpool might be in a position to prise Keïta away from the Bundesliga ahead of schedule, albeit by paying a premium on the already agreed-upon fee. The scenario is not completely far-fetched but is also contingent upon various stars aligning just right for Liverpool.
According to Price and the Express, RB Leipzig might be open to such a deal if their Champions League and Bundesliga aspirations are derailed by the time the January transfer window rolls around. It’s early days for any prognostication on that front - RB Leipzig are six points behind Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund after six matches played, and have played just the one match in their Champions League campaign.
“At the minute it's only a slim chance and there are no agreements in place, except the one for Keïta to move next summer,” Price is quoted as saying in the Express. “But there's always been talk that, depending on Leipzig's domestic and Champions League progress, Liverpool could pay a further premium to get the midfielder early.”
RB Leipzig’s Tuesday encounter with Beşiktaş is identified as a key event, as defeat to the Turkish side might be the first indicator that things might not go according to plan this year. In all likelihood, it would have to be a pretty disastrous October and November for RB Leipzig to be in the position of looking to cash in early. Stranger things have happened, of course, but Liverpool supporters may want to hold off putting on those newly ordered Keïta shirts for a while longer.