Although Naby Keïta only has eyes for a move to Liverpool, the considerable fee that it would take to prise him from RB Leipzig could be as high as £70 million. Keïta’s release clause is not far off £50 million, but that clause kicks in next summer. Another season similar to his breakout campaign would certainly lead to more competition for his signature, underling that this summer offers a transfer window of opportunity to sign a player on a world class trajectory.
Dietmar Hamann can be counted on for his say on matters at his former club, and true to form, provided his take on the Guinea international’s value to Liverpool. Although Hamann was a holding and protective force in midfield, it's good to hear an educated take on an emerging superstar instead of a lazy and ignorant piece of analysis that exposes the fact that a certain pundit has never seen the player in question even once. Anyway, Hamann is clearly supportive of a big deal for Keïta.
“Would £70million put me off buying Keita? No,” Hamann plainly stated. “Just getting through the play-off round and into the group stage of the Champions League would pay off a big chunk of that fee.
“With Keita on board, Liverpool would have an even better chance of getting through. You can question the fees being mentioned for the likes of (Virgil) van Dijk and Keita, but if you want the top players you have to pay the going rate.
“It’s no good saying the market value is £30million because you aren’t going to get someone like that for that fee. If Liverpool had to pay £60million or £70million to get Keita it wouldn’t worry me. You are buying a top player for years to come.”
The quality that Naby Keïta provides is worth the premium simply because Liverpool usually don't have the chance to buy a player of his quality. If a player is a success, his fee fades away into the background as his impressive performances take centre stage. Doubts surrounding transfer fees emerge with underwhelming and substandard displays, nothing more.
When a player wants out, a club usually has to sell. Clubs suffer and benefit from it all the time; yes, some clubs suffer more than others, but there is often a considerable profit that accompanies such a scenario. Leipzig are facing that reality with Keïta, and Hamann believes that Leipzig will be fine in the event of Keïta’s departure due to the youth setup there.
“If you buy a player for £15million and you get offered £70million for him a year later, it’s going to be very hard to turn down,” the Champions League winner pointed out. “It’s a huge fee. As much as Leipzig are in the Champions League and want to be successful themselves, I can’t see them turning down £70million if the player is pushing for the move. Apart from Bayern Munich, any club would think about it.
“Liverpool’s interest has been well known for a while so it wouldn’t surprise me if they have already got a replacement for Keita in the pipeline. Leipzig have the best academy in the league so it might be the case that it frees up a space for an outstanding youngster coming through. Sometimes the fee is so good you have to let a player go. I think that will be the case with Keita.”