A new report from Sport Bild claims that Liverpool FC, in light of rival interest from Real Madrid, Manchester United and more, are set to offer Borussia Dortmund a swap deal involving Naby Keita in January.
Of course, this isn’t the first time Keita has been linked with Dortmund. Those rumours came up just before the end of the summer transfer window, although German journalists quickly rubbished those rumours.
Let’s treat this rumour with a hint of possibility. Although Dortmund are primarily known to be in the business of giving playing time to talented world-beaters in the making before moving them for hefty transfer fees, they have also shown a willingness to take on veterans who need a new environment to tutor those youngsters. Recent examples would include Axel Witsel, as well as former Liverpool midfielder Emre Can. Naby Keita’s best form came for RB Leipzig, and if Dortmund believes a return to the Bundesliga would do him good, there’s certainly value for them there.
Now... here’s where this rumour doesn’t make any sense. Keita’s contract is winding down in the summer. Liverpool doesn’t have leverage in a swap deal because Dortmund could just offer the player a pre-contract in January instead of letting Liverpool reduce the potential fee for Bellingham. The only way this scenario could happen was if Keita’s agent had already done his homework on his potential clubs and decided Dortmund was his best option. And then, they have to be cool with doing Liverpool a favour. Plausible but a little too far-fetched. Even so, I find it difficult to believe that Dortmund would allow their pursuit of Keita to eat into the money they could make from a potential bidding war between Europe’s elite.
So... nah, this probably isn’t happening.