After pursuing RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita all summer, Liverpool have finally gotten their man, although the deal they’ve agreed with the German club will see Guinea midfielder stay with Leipzig for one more season before joining the Reds.
Keita is set to undergo a medical on Monday to finalise the deal.
The midfielder’s release clause next summer is set at £48million but Liverpool’s offer exceeds that, it is understood.
Here are five things you may not have known about the 22-year-old.
Keita was among the stars during Leipzig’s stunning debut season in Bundesliga last year, when they finished second.
Timo Werner and Emil Forsberg initially hogged the limelight, but as the season progressed, Keita was rightly praised as one of the standout players in the team, and was ultimately named to the Bundesliga Team of the Season by 70% of voters, second only to Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski (75%).
By comparison, Bayern midfielder Thiago Alcantara, who was widely regarded as one of Europe’s best midfielders last season, only got 59% of the votes.
Keita’s reputation as a tidy and incisive passer is well-deserved, but it can sometimes mask another key aspect of his game. He’s skillful dribbler, and completed 83 take-ons in the 2016/17 Bundesliga season. That mark puts him at the top among midfielders in Europe’s top five leagues.
For the previous generation of African footballers, players like Samuel Eto’o and Didier Drogba were the players everyone looked up to, but Yaya Toure has certainly lifted himself to that tier for the latest generation.
Keita is one of those who cites the Man City midfielder as his idol, and given the similar styles of play, there’s no reason why the Guinean can’t go on and emulate his Ivorian counterpart.
It’s become common for players who have the same agent to try influencing each other to join the same clubs, and that scenario has played out with Keita. He and Liverpool’s Sadio Mane have the same agent, Bjorn Bezemer.
Bezemer was instrumental in forcing through Mane’s move to Southampton from Red Bull Salzburg, Leipzig’s sister club, in 2014, and has pulled off the same tactics to complete Keita’s move to Liverpool.
While it’s been clear that Keita has wanted a move to Liverpool all summer, his stay at Anfield might be a short one. He has previously said he sees himself at a club like Barcelona, Real Madrid, or Manchester City.
That could mean that in a few seasons’ time, Keita could be the subject of a transfer saga yet again.
Chelsea have agreed a fee with Arsenal to sign Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain before the transfer window closes on Thursday.
The deal is expected to be worth £35 million and appears imminent after Chelsea fended off Liverpool in the race for the 24-year-old’s signature.
Liverpool can still make a late swoop for the player with personal terms yet to be agree with Chelsea but will have to move swiftly.
Oxlade-Chamberlain rejected a new contract at Arsenal worth £180,000-a-week, leading the club to agree to a sale with his current deal running out next summer.
Rather than lose him for free next year, the Gunners are now resigned to cashing in on the England international.
Barcelona remain hopeful of securing a deal with Liverpool for Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho, Barca sporting director Robert Fernandez confirmed as the club presented €105 million capture Ousmane Dembele on Monday.
The Catalans have until Friday when the Spanish transfer window closes to agree a deal for Coutinho, who hasn’t played for Liverpool since submitting a transfer request to try and force through a move earlier this month.
“In the few days that remain we hope to reach an agreement and be able to present a new player,” said Fernandez when asked how negotiations for Coutinho were developing.
“We know the profile and above all the position of the player we want, and we need to improve with the departures there have been.”
Barca have been forced into a last minute shopping spree after Neymar’s decision to leave the club for a world record 222 million euros earlier this month.
Dembele, whose fee could yet rise to 145 million euros depending on add-ons related to his performance, became Barca’s fifth signing of the summer on Friday after Marlon Santos, Gerard Deulofeu, Nelson Semedo and Paulinho.
And Fernandez admitted his intention is for two more players to arrive at the Camp Nou before Friday.
“My intention is that another player will come, if possible two,” he added.
However, Fernandez categorically ruled out a move for Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri.
The Ivorian blasted Nice in an explosive interview with Barcelona-based Mundo Deportivo on Monday, claiming the club had renagued on a deal to sell him to Barca by upping their asking price due to interest from Paris Saint-Germain.
“He is totally ruled out,” said Fernandez. “He is a player with excellent conditions, but, having analysed things, the priority is other positions.”
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 28, 2017
Provided by AFP Sport