In recent seasons, it has become common to see out of favour fringe players at Barcelona linked with Liverpool. From tales of a potential return for Philippe Coutinho to an Ousmane Dembélé reclamation project, hardly a window has passed without such links.
Now, though, it’s time for a story of a fringe player heading in the other direction, at least as Catalan outlet El Nacional see it, as they claim Barcelona are now leading the queue to take Naby Keïta off Liverpool’s hands after four underwhelming seasons at Anfield.
They go further, claiming after investing around €60M in his signing, Liverpool are content to recoup half that and let Keïta go for €30M in the summer, which is when the financially floundering but still inexplicably spending La Liga side would move for him.
They also claim Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Roma, and West Ham have all shown interest in the now 26-year-old Guinean midfielder who has struggled with injuries and form since arriving at Anfield in 2018. If true, a fee higher than €30M might be expected.
Alternately, a strong second half of the season with the Reds could establish Keïta as the player Jürgen Klopp believed he was getting in the first place, a dynamic midfielder whose underlying statistics pointed at a potential world class box-to-box superstar.
If he can’t manage that, though, after four injury-plagued and inconsistent seasons in Red it might well be time for everyone to accept that Keïta at Liverpool simply isn’t going to pan out as everyone would have hoped when he signed and to move forward.