It marks a change in the Bundesliga club’s attitude toward selling the player. Previous enquiries by the fallen Premier League giants were rebuffed with a firm ‘Not for Sale’; now, a fee – albeit over-the-odds – is being quoted.
Are they minded to sell for the right price? Possibly. A Guinea international, Keita’s performances last season were widely praised with his hard-work in midfield held as key foundation upon which Leipzig’s surprise success was built.
The Germans are determined not to see their side disintegrate but already face losing the mercurial Swede Emil Forsberg, to Arsenal. Liverpool’s swoop for Keita could send the wrong message although any fee about €30m will surely be too good for Leipzig to reject?
They won’t let go without a fight. Keita scored eight times and managed the same number of assists. For a box-to-box midfielder, it’s a good return and one last season’s Bundesliga runners-up know will be hard to replace.
Jurgen Klopp’s ‘heavy metal’ football needs energetic midfielders whose stamina is vital for the Gegenpress tactics the Reds employ. Keita fits that bill; whether Liverpool can persuade Leipzig to sell is another matter.