In some latest Naby Keita transfer news, it has been announced that he will be joining Liverpool next season. Liverpool had been pursuing the Red Bull Leipzig and Guinea midfielder for much of the transfer window with Klopp known to be a keen admirer. They have agreed to pay £48mil for Keita which is the release clause which was to take effect in the next year of the Guinean’s contract. From my understanding Liverpool also paid a fee on top of the £48mil to Red Bull Leipzig in order to allow them to sort the transfer early (complicated I know)
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) August 29, 2017
Nationality: 28 caps 5 goals
Position: central midfielder, can also play as a defensive midfielder or an attacking midfielder, all through the centre
Transfer Fee: £48mil (+ fee on top in order to negotiate release clause earlier)
Contract Length: 5 years (starting July 2018)
2016/17 Leage Stats: 29 starts (2 sub appearances) 8 goals (7 assists)
So Liverpool have finally got their man. It seems like they’ve taken a common sense approach to the situation after it became clear Red Bull Leipzig weren’t going to sell this year. It’s been public knowledge that Keita has a £48mil release clause in his contract which takes effect next year and that Liverpool have been trying to push through a deal.
Negotiating a deal for next year isn’t a bad compromise and a smart move to tie up a player who’s demand is only going to grow. In this year’s market £48mil for a player of Keita’s quality doesn’t look out of place. So in next year’s market it could look like even better business. By tying up a deal now Liverpool have also avoided a possible auction when it comes to agreeing personal terms.
It looks like very shrewd business.
In my opinion Liverpool’s defence needs the most work, it’s by far the weakest area of the pitch for the them but their midfield needs a bit of work too. Their midfield isn’t the worst but it does look like it’s missing an extra bit of quality at times, especially with Lallana being out injured. Naby Keita could provide that extra bit of quality they are missing.
Emre Can looks like he really is starting to fulfill the potential he promised as a Bayern youth player. He’s developing well under Klopp into a good all-round midfielder, which is the expectation these days. That said there’s some uncertainty regarding his future with his contract due to expire, so it’s far from a guarantee he will still be at the club next season.
I must admit I’m not Jordan Henderson’s biggest fan. He does a lot of the donkey work for Liverpool and England but I’m not sure he really does enough at either end of the pitch or is involved in enough pivotal moments. His work-rate is commendable but I’m not convinced he’s international class.
He’s a solid Premiership player at best for me which is adequate for Liverpool at the moment but if they are to push on a level or two they will need better players than Henderson in my opinion.
Wijnaldum has, for me, been a bit of a revelation since his transfer to Liverpool. He had an impressive goal scoring record at Newcastle, especially for a midfielder but his general contribution, especially away from home was debatable and the club suffered relegation.
As with many players though Jurgen Klopp seems to have improved him. Since his arrival he has pretty much nailed down a place in the Liverpool team which again surprised me and he has contributed significantly at the business end of the pitch (6 goals and 9 assists in the league).
As with Henderson though, I’m not completely convinced he is going to take Liverpool on to a level where they will recapture some of their League and European success.
Once, famously described as two players in one, Keita is an energetic box-to-box type midfielder so not too dissimilar to the players already at the club and fits this profile of how Klopp wants to play in central midfield.
Unlike those already at the club however, Keita has that extra bit of quality to make a difference as he can do it all. He can dribble, spot a pass, make runs beyond the defence and has a good shot from distance. He also has the game to stop attacks with his anticipation, determination and aggression.
He should also be well suited to the physical demands of the Premiership. He’s not the biggest in stature but can hold his own when it comes to midfield battles. Whilst he has the necessary energy levels not just required to play in the faster paced games in England but also for the demanding high-press game Klopp prefers. He contributes to both ends of the pitch with his work-rate, stamina and off the ball movement.
There’s very few players around that possess such a mix of attributes.
In many ways he can be compared to Kante, not the biggest but a solid, low centre of gravity type of player, not easily pushed off the ball. Unlike Kante however he also contributes significantly in the opposition box as his stats from last year above show.
All in all Keita looks a very good signing and made for the Premiership and moreover Liverpool’s style. He’s a significant improvement on some of the current midfield options and could very end up being one of the best midfielders in the league.
It really wouldn’t surprise me if the signing of next season has already been made!
What do you think? Keita good signing or not? Could Liverpool have signed him earlier? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts below.