RB Leipzig have reiterated that they have no intention of letting Liverpool bring Naby Keita to the Premier League early after reports of a January move in exchange for a ‘top-up’ of the transfer fee already agreed between the clubs.
Liverpool sold star man Coutinho for a fee that could reach £142m and are looking to fill the hole left by the Brazilian if possible.
While history suggests that the Reds will likely wait, major German publications BILD and Kicker both carried stories on Wednesday suggesting that Liverpool had looked to secure Keita six months in advance of his pre-agreed £54m summer arrival in exchange for a top-up payment in the region of £17m.
How Liverpool could line up with Keita, Van Dijk and Lemar
Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhüttl was keen to dismiss that when asked on Thursday about the Guinean’s premature departure.
“There’s no reason to allow Keita leave early,” he said, “and that’s the way it is staying.”
“Nothing has changed. We don’t have reason to sell before summer. I think Naby wants to finish the season in a good way in Leipzig”
While unloading £17m to boost their chances of a Champions League berth makes plenty of sense for Jurgen Klopp’s side, it doesn’t interest the Bundesliga outfit for the same reason – just in reverse.
After being eliminated at the group stage in their first-ever Champions League campaign, the ambitious Red Bull-backed are desperate to return to Europe’s top table but will need to win the Europa League or finish in Germany’s top four to do so.
With four teams from third to sixth place all tied on 28 points, the league situation is too dicey for Leipzig to part with the beating heart of their midfield for the sake of £17m when Champions League qualification would rake in much more than that.
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