Although it’s not the deal that Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was hoping for, the Reds summer long pursuit of RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita has finally been successful with the Anfield outfit paying out the £48mil release clause in the Guinean’s contract that is set to become active next summer as well as a “premium” to secure his services starting in July 2018.
It’s a bit of a strange deal, but it’s one that should keep both clubs happy — at least for the short term. Leipzig, for their part, have remained adamant that they would not part ways with their star man this summer, but conceded on more than one occasion that it would be nearly impossible to keep him when his release clause came in to play at the next of next season. Keita, on the other hand, has maintained that he’s happy with the Saxony side, but has ambitions to play at a higher level.
Now, whether or not he’ll still be able to do that when he makes the move to Merseyside remains to be seen. Liverpool, for their part, have started the campaign well having qualified for the Groups Stages of the Champions League and their crushing of Arsenal yesterday at Anfield hints at good things to come for Klopp’s side, but the Premier League remains one of the most competitive in the world and UEFA’s elite club competition year in and year is anything but assured.
We’re still awaiting an official statement from both clubs, but for all intents and purposes, this looks like a done deal with most respected media outlets announcing that the formalities have been hashed out — and that’s something to celebrate. Capturing Keita is a major coup for the Reds, but the real question is whether or not this ties in to Barcelona’s ongoing interest in Philippe Coutinho and if this means the Brazilian will be on his way to the Nou Camp in a similar deal next year.