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.
Monaco have completed a deal to sign Montenegro striker Stevan Jovetic and are set to wrap up the transfer of Belgium midfielder Leander Dendoncker from Anderlecht, sources said on Monday.
The 27-year-old Montenegro captain Jovetic, who had a spell on loan at Sevilla last season from Inter Milan, is set to take the No. 10 shirt worn up to now by Kylian Mbappe.
Mbappe is expected to complete a move to Paris Saint-Germain, initially on loan, before the transfer window closes on Thursday.
Monaco have not yet made an official announcement on the deal for Jovetic, who has also played for Fiorentina and Manchester City.
Sources close to the principality club also revealed that Dendoncker, 22, will join from Anderlecht, following the path taken by his compatriot Youri Tielemans earlier this summer.
Dendoncker’s agent, who also represents Tielemans, met with representatives of Monaco and Anderlecht at a hotel in the principality last Thursday, the day of the draw for the Champions League group stage.
Earlier reports indicated that Monaco would pay €21million, not including bonuses, for Dendoncker. However, that fee would be lowered if Soualiho Meite moved in the other direction on loan.
Midfielder Meite was bought by Monaco earlier this summer from another Belgian club, Zulte Waregem, for €8million.
The transfer window is fast approaching conclusion and the rumour mill is heating up. Take a look at the most recent names and gossip being floated around in the media.
Will any of the following deals happen?
The Express report that Arsenal have reportedly denied claims Alexis Sanchez submitted a transfer request on Monday.
The Chilean’s contract with the Gunners will lapse next summer.
And Independent journalist Shehab Khan caused Arsenal fans to fear the worst when he tweeted: “Alexis Sanchez has reportedly handed in a transfer request at Arsenal.”
But the tweet was swiftly deleted and the newspaper later denied the claims, saying Arsenal have told them that the reports are not true.
Reports from Spain claim that Costa’s move to Atletico Madrid is done with the striker possibly moving to Everton on loan until January.
According to Sergio Ortiz, Costa will agree a two-year deal with his former club and Chelsea will receive €45 million, plus €20 million in add-ons.
Goal report suggestions that Angel Di Maria is close to completing a move from Paris Saint-Germain to Barcelona are based on lies, according to Jorge Mendes. The Argentine forward has been heavily linked with a return to La Liga this summer, where he has previously impressed for Real Madrid.