The two clubs agreed a €55m deal for the Guinea international to move to Anfield after the World Cup finals in Russia this summer. However, off the field problems and Leipzig’s failure to make the knockout stages of the Champions League, softened the club’s attitude for an early departure.
The 22-year-old was fined €415,000 for driving without a licence, Keita is said to be surrounded by hangers-on, who often accompany him to training.
Add to this a dip in his performances and a reticence to continue learning German – preferring to improve his English instead – it’s easy to see why Leipzig may be looking at bringing in a better-motivated player.
It’s led to stories of Keita becoming isolated in the dressing room, almost as if he has mentally left the Bundesliga club. If Liverpool want him to physically leave as well, the cost will be an additional €15-20m.
It’s an option the Merseyside club explored unsuccessfully before Christmas but the Bundesliga winter break has led to Leipzig re-evaluating their position. Liverpool’s January business may have become a whole lot better.