Which Club Should Keita Balde Diao Join This Summer
Liverpool and Tottenham, the Premier League heavyweights, are reportedly weighing up another transfer tussle this summer for Serie A hotshot Keita Balde Diao who had a highly impressive campaign with Lazio and helped them finish 5th in the league earning a place in next season’s UEFA Europa League competition.
The 22-year old Senegalese international progressed through the youth ranks of La Masia, one of world’s finest youth set up before making a switch to Serie A side Lazio in the summer of 2011. He was promoted to their senior side in 2013 and became a regular ever since, netting 31 times in 134 appearances in all competitions.
However, the youngster has been insisting a move since last season amidst interests from several top European outfit and Lazio owner as well as president Claudio Lotito, known as a notorious negotiator, might be forced to sell his best resource this term following his denial of a contract extension that runs out next summer.
Keita netted 16 times and assisted thrice in 31 league outings that has made him one of Serie A’s hottest prospects. He is hailed for his strong dribbling and finishing skills, footwork, physical strength, link up play, and crossing traits.
His ability to play in a multiple attacking roles has made him a priority transfer target of Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino and the Reds boss Jurgen Klopp as both of them are keen to add more firepower in their attacking third in the form of a wingman.
A move to Liverpool seems increasingly unlikely for a number of reasons. Keita has often been criticised for his lack of work rate. That does not suit him in Klopp’s ‘gegenpressing’ football. Also, his attitude and training ground brawls have sent him down the pecking order behind Mohamed Salah, Gelson Martins and Douglas Costa, which doesn’t hold him in good stead.
Tottenham, on the other hand, have struggled with persistent injury concerns of Erik Lamela, whereas, Son Heung-min, the South Korean international, has broken his arm while playing for his country and will undergo a surgery that might force him to be sidelined for the initial weeks of 2017-18 campaign. Georges-Kévin N’Koudou, the young Frenchman, failed to impress last season and might move elsewhere for regular game time.
Thus Spurs need someone in their attack who can start regularly on the wing and also deputise marksman Harry Kane if necessary. Keita will cost around £26million and his wage demands won’t exceed Spurs’ strict wage structure. The youngster fits the bill to be a shrewd signing for the North Londoners and is tipped to be a future star with all his quality and potential.