Liverpool are expected to return with an improved bid for Naby Keita, despite his club rejecting their latest offer an insisting he is not for sale.
Jurgen Klopp has identified the Guinea international as the ideal man to pin his midfield next season, and was all set to break the Reds transfer record when a bid of £66million was tabled. However, RB Leipzig dismissed this offer, as they look to retain the services of the 22-year-old.
Keita played a key role as the Red Bull Arena club finished second to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga last season, thus giving them their first passage into the UEFA Champions League. And their owner, Dietrich Mateschitz, fully expects him to help them further progress next term.
“We don’t sell any of our players just to get money,” he said. “Lately we got a €75m [£66million] offer for Naby Keita. No way! He has a contract and he will accomplish it. To sell him would not only be a proof of distrust to our fans but also the wrong sign for our other players.”
It is thought that Keita is keen to make the move to Anfield, and whilst this is unlikely to be enough to force a transfer, it has been reported that Klopp has not yet given up hope of signing him which suggests a third offer – likely to be in the region of £70million – could be tabled as early as next week.
Keita has a release clause in his contract allowing him to leave for £50million, but this only kicks in next summer. Even so, if he shows no signs of signing a new deal which could remove such a get out, Leipzig could yet be persuaded to sell this year rather than be forced to accept a lower bid next.
Meanwhile, fullback Andrew Robertson is set to undergo a medical before completing a £10million move from Hull City, who will use a large portion of this fee to take Kevin Stewart in return. Another midfielder, Lucas Leiva, completed his transfer to Lazio to end his 11-stay on Merseyside.