Having been heavily linked with a move for RB Leipzig star Naby Keïta, there is no doubt that the 22-year-old Guinean is Jürgen Klopp’s top midfield target as he prepares to lead Liverpool back into the Champions League next season. Leipzig, though, have insisted that they will not be forced into a sale.
However, today reports in Germany’s Kicker claim they are on the verge of signing Keïta’s replacement, the €10M-rated Konrad Laimer, from RB Salzburg. If that move were to go through, it would see the 20-year-old Laimer follow the same path to the Bundesliga that Keïta took last summer.
Keïta made 31 Bundesliga appearances in 2016-17, scoring eight goals and eight assists in a versatile, box-to-box role, helping Leipzig to second in Germany along the way and being named to the Bundesliga’s team of the year for his efforts. It has been suggested that Leipzig rate him a £50M player.
Similar to Keïta, Laimer is a box-to-box midfielder who can take on a more defensive role if necessary. He made 31 appearances in the Austrian Bundesliga last season, scoring three goals and four assists. A move to Germany would continue a strong tradition of Salzburg feeding players to Leipzig.
Last summer, the Austrian club sold three players—including Keïta—to the German club with the same ownership group, netting €22M for their troubles. Leipzig brought in a further three players from Salzburg the summer before, and has regularly sent players in the other direction on loan.
Reports from the Liverpool side of negotiations have previously suggested that the club hoped Keïta could be had for a fee of around £30-35M but that they have not been put off by recent reports out of Germany suggesting Leipzig are looking to receive considerably more than that.