When Naby Keita landed at Anfield in 2018, the future was bright, the sky was the limit, and the legendary Liverpool no. 8 shirt worn previously by Reds great Steven Gerrard appeared safe on the Guinean’s shoulders.
Now, nearly five years on from that moment, it is a case of unfilled potential and what could’ve been. Endless injuries and an inability to find any consistent form or rhythm prevented manager Jurgen Klopp from putting trust in Keita in the biggest moments. With the relationship between club and player beginning to sour, it appears that the writing is on the wall for the 27-year-old’s time on Merseyside.
Despite a long-term knock that has prevented him from making a competitive appearance since July’s Community Shield, the diminutive midfielder has nevertheless drawn interest domestically from Newcastle and West Ham as well as abroad from the likes of today’s Dubai Super Cup opponent, AC Milan, as well as—most intriguingly—Borussia Dortmund.
The German club are of course the current employers of Liverpool’s number one transfer target, Jude Bellingham, leading to the inevitable fan questions suggesting a player swap plus cash. Keita is able to sign a pre-contract as early as January.
According to Sky Sports reporter Dharmesh Sheth, the Reds are eager to get some sort of fee back for the £52m they paid to sign Keita from RB Leipzig, and are exploring the idea of offloading the Guinean international in the upcoming winter window.
A return to the Bundesliga where he had his most prolific period of his career might be appealing to a player who looks to have been passed over in Liverpool’s long-term midfield planning.
The winter silly season should be an interesting one.