The only thing better than spending money is saving money and Liverpool are doing a bit of both now that Naby Keita has played his last match for RB Leipzig. Jürgen Klopp and the Liverpool brain trust couldn’t quite wrest the Guinean midfielder from the Bundesliga club last summer so they had to settle for an official announcement that didn’t actually include the arrival of an actual footballer.
Keita, it was agreed, would return to Leipzig and help the Red Bulls to another successful season that ended with Champions League qualification. So, we moved on, emotionally, and watched Keita from afar this season. It was a decent campaign for the 23-year-old in Germany but Leipzig could only finish in sixth place in the Bundesliga which means the club miss out on Champions League football next season.
Now, that little league placement tidbit is responsible for the handy savings Liverpool will enjoy in the deal that’s been a year in the making.
Keita’s fee for Liverpool is directly influenced by Leipzig’s final league position. Champions League qualification could have meant a cost of £59milllion to the Reds. Leipzig finishing in seventh place or below would have reduced that number to £48million. In the end, the German club managed entrance into Europa League with a sixth place finish and earned a £52.75million pay out from Liverpool.
So, it didn’t exactly pan out for the Red Bulls in that Keita couldn’t single-handedly pull them higher up their domestic table. Leipzig even reportedly turned down an additional fee from Liverpool in January when the Reds thought to bring Keita in early to fill in the space left by Philippe Coutinho’s transfer to Barcelona.
In the end, I guess Leipzig held firm on their decision and looked strong in negotiation maybe. I don’t know.
Naby Keita can officially join up with Klopp and the boys on July 1. After that, he’ll run a lot more than he expected.