With Liverpool reportedly having had their £66M bid for Naby Keïta rejected by RB Leipzig earlier in the day, it was inevitable that Jürgen Klopp would be asked about it following the club’s 2-0 pre-season victory over Crystal Palace in Hong Kong.
The question, then, was what comes next for them? Could Liverpool possibly raise their bid further, is there room to structure the deal differently so that Leipzig might accept it, or is it perhaps time to abandon the chase and move on to other targets?
“Are we in Vegas or what?” Klopp joked before checking with a local journalist in attendance and switching his gambling reference to nearby Macau. He wouldn’t be drawn on Keïta, though, adding, “I’ve told you before I can’t speak about this.”
Still, for Liverpool fans the question is unavoidable. It’s difficult to imagine the club making two massive bids in excess of £50M if they truly believed there was no chance getting a deal done despite Leipzig’s public insistence Keïta isn’t for sale.
Perhaps Leipzig are waiting for Keïta to hand in a transfer request. Or maybe, with the Pound low and £66M ending up just shy of Kevin de Bruyne’s €75M Bundesliga record transfer fee, they just want a little more—for marketing reasons if nothing else.
In the end, al their protestations and dragging out the transfer and trying to get Liverpool to pay a record fee could all just come back to a desire to get the club’s name—and, more importantly, the name of the brand that owns them—in the spotlight.
In that case, the deal may not be dead just yet despite today’s events—their name next to record fee and enough press coverage and Keïta will be sold. Or it could be time to move on for Liverpool, even if Klopp wasn’t giving anything away.