The consensus seems to be settling, and it’s not good for Liverpool fans hoping the club would find a way to sign 22-year-old RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keïta. Despite a brief flurry of noise about a third, £74M bid having been made late on Monday, it now appears that one didn’t go in.
It now appears that, at least for the time being—and potentially for a lot longer than that—Liverpool will be shelving their interest in the Guinean star, with Liverpool’s club-connected journalists slowing moving into lock-step when it comes to the frustrating, long-running transfer saga.
Paul Joyce of The Times, Chris Bascombe of The Telegraph, James Pearce of The Liverpool Echo, and Melissa Reddy of Goal. All are now saying no new bid has gone in. All are now saying that Liverpool’s second offer of £66M last week was the last one made. All are saying a third is not planned.
The one glimmer of hope would be that all agree £66M is not the maximum the club would be willing to pay. Liverpool are willing to go higher. The problem is that they do not believe raising the bid—not even to the £74M reported by Bild late on Monday—would get the deal done.
Liverpool were left frustrated by their last bid being rejected after they had been led to believe that it would be enough to get a deal done, and as a result there has been growing speculation that Leipzig may not have been engaged in good faith negotiations.
In public, they had insisted Keïta was not for sale, but behind the scenes Liverpool believed they had received encouraging signs and that their second bid would get a deal done. It wasn’t, and though the club were reluctant to move on, it appears they have now decided to do just that.
What comes next is uncertain. The most hopeful may still entertain the dream of a Keïta deal getting done. It’s more likely, though, that the club will seek out an alternative, even if that may mean in bringing in a player to add to midfield depth options rather than to displace a current starter.
Whatever that Plan B is, though—be it a move for a starter like Schalke’s Leon Goretzka, a gamble on a player like Jean Seri being able to adapt his game to England, or something else entirely—will hopefully become clear in fairly short order now.