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Naby Keïta to Liverpool Still Possible as RB Leipzig Seek Replacement

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According to reports in Germany, Leipzig are now scrambling to bring in a Keïta replacement this summer.

Malmo FF v Red Bull Salzburg - UEFA Champions League Qualifying Play-Offs Round: Second Leg Photo by Jonathan Nackstrand/EuroFootball/Getty Images

The ride never ends. If it feels like it was only hours ago that Liverpool were abandoning their pursuit of Naby Keïta, with the club’s best-connected journalists lining up to say a deal was almost certain not to happen this summer, that’s because it was. Now, though, word out of Germany is that a deal could still be on.

That’s because according to Bild, RB Leipzig are scrambling to move up their plans to source a replacement by Keïta by a season—they always expected to lose him next summer when his £48M release clause kicked in, but now there may be a feeling at the Saxony club that Keïta will be departing far sooner than that.

More than that, Bild claim that the player has appeared unmotivated during pre-season training, despite that the club’s manager has continued to insist to the press that everything is fine. The only question, then, is whether this means a deal really is still on or if it’s just Bild trying to get a little more mileage out of the story.

Alternately, given suggestions Leipzig may have been negotiating in bad faith—essentially using the transfer saga to earn free publicity for their parent company—it’s always possible they would want to keep people talking about Naby Keïta’s potential Liverpool move for at least a little while longer.

Or it could mean that there really is still room to make a deal; that Leipzig are preparing to come back to the table; that the rumoured third, £83M bid, if made, would result in the Reds getting Jürgen Klopp’s first choice midfielder in this summer. It could mean all of that. Or it could mean a whole lot of not much.

About the only thing it does mean is we’ll all be talking about the Naby Keïta transfer like it’s a thing that could happen for at least a few more days. So. Enjoy?