Now is the winter of Liverpool country’s discontent. Philippe Coutinho has run off to join the Barcelona circus and we’re left to scratch at our increasingly hairless heads over who the club can or will bring in to strengthen the first team after such a blow to both the overall team kickassness and the ranks of the fabulous four.
Thomas Lemar’s name his spent a fair amount of time among the conversations. And that’s fine. It’s got to be somebody. And Lemar seems legit. I know this from other people saying so and also because I’ve read his name a lot lately and that has to account for something.
Then there’s Naby Keita. Liverpool have already secured the signing of the Guinean from RB Leipzig with the player meant to spend all of this season in Germany before heading to Merseyside. But once Coutinho fled to his Catalan-color dream job it was posited that Liverpool should or could move that arrival date for Keita up a few months and make the switch now.
But Leipzig’s CEO Oliver Mintzlaff wasn’t feeling it last week.
“Neither Naby nor his agent have made a request to leave the club in the winter,” said Mintzlaff.
The German club are out of the Champions League but are currently working their way through the Europa League back forty and still in with a shout for Champions League qualification next season. Leipzig sit in fifth place in the Bundesliga in a four-way tie on points for third.
Hope level. Medium. Chances. Slim.
But don’t count Jürgen Klopp out just yet. Because there’s recently been a report. And that report is saying that Leipzig are maybe possibly perhaps open to the idea of letting Keita move to Liverpool in January. It just might take a few extra pounds.
Liverpool agreed a £50million fee last summer with Leipzig and now Bild are claiming to understand that Leipzig would now send Keita right on over for a small surcharge of 15m to 20m euros. That’s £13m-£17.5m. That’s a weird way of saying ‘this is the exact amount of money we want’ but okay.
Maybe these ranges of money are important for the special negotiation time. That’s when the negotiators really get to shine. If you take away these money ranges it’s just not fair to the negotiators. Let them have fun.
So, that’s a potential total of £63m-£67.5m for Naby’s services and Liverpool would get a player in who Klopp already has plans for and can step into the starting eleven and go bonkers. Champion League availability is a no-go as Keita is cup-tied but there would still be plenty of fun matches on offer with the league and the FA Cup.
Leipzig’s sudden desire to show their hand could have something to do with a need to drum up a bit of cash in order to comply with FFP rules. Presumably, there’s a range of money to be negotiated with UEFA. Or it could be that Keita has simply worn out his welcome at Leipzig considering his game hasn’t been quite so sparkly this season as last and rumours fly over some dressing room discontent.
Or it’s all for nothing and something’s definitely not happening. Reports and rumours. Rumours and reports. Take one down. Pass it around. Somebody just get out the check book.
It remains to be seen if Liverpool will go for the deal and get Keita in now. Will they want to pay the extra money? Will Jürgen Klopp feel that it’s worth it to bring Keita in sooner than expected? Will Keita pay £13m-£17.5m of his own money to get the deal done? We don’t know but this one’s likely to pick up steam so keep your ears to the track.