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Naby Keïta Has “Heart Set” on Liverpool Move

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Former Red and fellow countryman Titi Camara says Keïta is determined to move to Liverpool.

3rd Place Match - Audi Quattro Cup 2015 Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images

Former Liverpool striker Titi Camara says that he’s being told that Naby Keïta has his heart set on a move to Anfield and that current club RB Leipzig are currently looking for a replacement, words that will further boost the hopes that Liverpool can complete a deal for the dynamic midfielder.

Camara, like Keïta, was born in Conakry, Guinea, and during his career he represented his country at the international level before going on to manage them. There is a good chance, then, that the Liverpool cult figure might well be hearing things from people close to Keïta about the situation.

If Liverpool can complete a deal, it will comfortably set a new mark as the club’s record signing. With a £48M release clause next season, Liverpool know a fee well in excess of £50M will be required to convince Leipzig to sell this year—and the German club have publicly put a £70M price tag on the player.

Even a compromise fee of around £60M inclusive of all add-ons would stand as a massive figure, almost doubling the roughly £35M spent on first Andy Carroll and then this summer on Mohamed Salah. All signs from Liverpool’s end, though, suggest they are willing to spend that much.

After two seasons in Austria where he showed he could be equally adept at playing the six, eight, or ten in midfield, the 22-year-old Keïta moved to Germany and proved he could similarly deliver consistently in one of the best league’s in the world while playing in a heavy pressing system.

His ability to do nearly everything to an exceptional level—to be a true box-to-box midfielder who can match up with the game’s best specialist midfielders—makes it hard to compare him to any current player. A former Liverpool player, though, a former number eight, might not be too far off.

Having been compared to destroyers like Javier Mascherano and N’Golo Kanté off the ball and to creators like Andres Iniesta and Deco on it, Liverpool fans wouldn’t be wrong to look closer to home and to Steven Gerrard as a player who made his legacy with a similarly broad midfield tool set.

The comparison isn’t perfect, but it’s a better fit than comparing Keïta to any one player—and especially any one holding midfielder—and that along with his age goes some way towards explaining why a deal is beginning to look increasingly likely despite the massive price tag.