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Conflicting Reports Claim RB Leipzig May or May Not Have Sanctioned Early Keita Move

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Mixed signals from the Bundesliga club hint a deal for the star is either close or off the table.

RB Leipzig v Besiktas - UEFA Champions League
We know buddy. Not long now.
Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images

A mooted Thomas Lemar to Liverpool transfer was so the Monday that just past, like, 72 hours ago. With Jürgen Klopp and FSG valiantly wading back into the frigid January transfer waters after the sucker punch of Philippe Coutinho’s graceless departure for the Camp Nou, Liverpool fans have been entertained by links to every footballer with a pulse. And now, barely a third of the way through a winter silly season that is mercifully only a month long, we’re back on the Naby-Keïta-Right-Bloody-Now train. Toot toot, yah bastids.

Things have been progressing swimmingly to this point in the quest to bring the RB Leipzig dynamo to Anfield earlier than planned. However, in the last 24 hours, the German club seem to be putting out mixed signals. On the one hand, there have been intimations that a pot-sweetner in the range of €20 million on top of the already agreed fee would be enough to close an early deal; while at the same time discouraging statements have emerged from both the ED Leipzig coach stubbornly maintaining that, “There is no reason to let [Keïta] go now,” and the club themselves stating “Nothing has changed and our position hasn’t changed from before regarding the transfer.”

Let’s recap: £48m-£60m has already been agreed for the Guinean midfielder to join in July. Awesome. Except here’s the thing though: he’s really good. Really, really good. So good, that it would be great to have Keïta driving the Reds to league glory ASAP.

ED, currently sitting fifth in the table but only two points off of second (hey! the Bundesliga looks kind of fun!) obviously weren’t too keen at first on the prospect of their best player leaving in the middle of their own fight for Champions League places.

However, the Brazilian-sized hole that has since developed in the Liverpool midfield brought the energy drink company back to negotiation table with FSG’s Michael Edwards reportedly uttering the phrase, “Heh, cool. But seriously, how much do you want?

Then, the past few days, have seen matters progress to haggling over 2018 pocket change and dawning realizations that the figures being bandied about just might make an early move worth everyone’s while.

Sound familiar? From Virgil Van Dijk’s shock and/or inevitable arrival to Coutinho’s shock and/or inevitable exit, Liverpool fans deserve some pity for the emotional roller coaster that unprecedented levels of player power and eye-watering amounts of cash have taken them on in the past two (!!) weeks. The chances Klopp and the transfer team have to ride out on a high and end the month on a net positive are good. Not a sure thing, not a long shot either; but definitely pretty good.