Despite the continuing insistence by RB Leipzig that star 22-year-old midfielder Naby Keïta is not for sale, Liverpool have made their opening bid for the Guinean and there is a growing belief that a deal can be done according to reports this evening out of Germany.
According to Bild, an improved bid is expected and there are whispers from sources within the German club that they may be willing to do a deal if Liverpool do now improve on their initial bid—or if Keïta hands in a transfer request and forfeits his loyalty bonus.
If Keïta were to hand in a transfer request in order to secure a move, Liverpool would be expected to increase his signing-on bonus or base wages in to compensate the player forfeiting that income. Alternately, an improved bid alone might be enough to get the deal done.
There are further suggestions that despite strong talk from Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick, the belief at Leipzig has all along been that Keïta would leave this summer and any posturing and public statements were only meant to extract the highest possible price for him.
If true, those efforts have been helped by a spiralling transfer market that has begun to make Keïta’s likely high cost seem increasingly palatable to Liverpool. The only question now is whether those Bild reports are true and, if so, whether Liverpool can now close the deal.
With leaks from the club drying up there’s little by way of confirmation out of Anfield, but given the lack of movement towards any Plan B, the most likely reading is that the club remain confident they can securing Keïta’s signature when everything is said and done.