Naby Keita’s on-again, off-again move to Liverpool had threatened to become one of the bigger transfer sagas of the summer, until Monday, when the Reds finally landed their man.
The RB Leipzig midfielder has agreed a move to Anfield and will join next summer.
Here are five key stats that show why Liverpool were so keen to sign Keita.
DRIBBLING HIS WAY THROUGH THE BUNDESLIGA…
Keita tallied 2.7 dribbles per game in the Bundesliga last season for RB Leipzig. Only Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele (3.2), now at Barcelona, hit a higher mark.
The 83 take-ons he completed were more than any central midfielder in Europe’s top five leagues, and only Thiago had a higher dribbling success rate (70.6%) than Keita’s 63.8% among Bundesliga players who attempted more than 50 dribbles.
KEITA MEANS GOALS
RB Leipzig were known for their attacking play in 2016/17, and Keita was at the heart of that. Across 31 appearances, the Guinean midfielder scored or assisted 15 times.
BETTER THAN EVERYONE BUT LEWA
Keita was named in the Bundesliga fans’ team of the season for 2016/17, earning the vote of 70% of fans. Only Robert Lewandowski (75%) had more. In comparison, Thiago only got 59% of the votes.
BUNDESLIGA’S BEST BALL-WINNER
The Leipzig midfielder is a skillful presence in the middle of the park, but he provides steel to the midfield as well.
No player has won possession in the midfield third more times than Keita (188) since the start of last season.
DEFENDS AS WELL AS HE ATTACKS
Like a true box-to-box midfielder, while Keita was charged with providing the attacking impetus for Leipzig, he can defend, too.
The new Liverpool signing made 80 tackles in the Bundesliga in 2016/17, the sixth-most in the division. He also made 81 interceptions, again the sixth-most in the league.