Why Liverpool Need To Act Quick And Sign Naby Keita In The Summer
Liverpool have been linked with a move for RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita for months together now. The 22-year old has been one of the best young players in the Bundesliga this season and has courted interests from several quarters, including German champions Bayern Munich and Premier League giants Arsenal as well (Daily Star). And now, The Times reports that the suitors will need to stump up funds in the range of £50million in order to sign the midfielder.
Keita joined RB Leipzig from sister club RB Salzburg of Austria in the last summer and took the Bundesliga by storm in his debut season, helping the newbies to finish the season placed 2nd in the league table and secure a place in the UEFA Champions League for next campaign. The Guinean has managed to find the back of the net on 8 occasions and has registered 8 assists from 31 league games. He was even named in the Bundesliga Team of the Season.
Playing as a central midfielder, Keita has been able to dominate the centre of the pitch with his bundles of energy and excellent work rate. The 22-year old has the pace and the dribbling abilities that allow him to carry the ball forward and with the range of passing that he possesses, he can create goals for his teammates. He is also not shy of having a go at the goal himself.
He is equally formidable while performing his defensive duties. His brilliant reading of the game and positional awareness combined with his strong tackling ability makes for a great defensive screen. Also, his pace allows him to get back into strong positions at times of danger, making him an all-round asset.
Liverpool have returned to the UEFA Champions League for next season after they finished 4th in the Premier League. While it can be considered a success, taking into account that the Reds had finished at 8th place in the previous campaign, things could have been so much better for them. The blistering start to the campaign saw them establish themselves as strong title contenders, but since the turn of the year, their campaign flitted out and one of the major reasons for that was injuries to key personnel.
One of those injured players was captain Jordan Henderson. The English midfielder was playing some of his best football in the Liverpool colours in the deep lying playmaker role, but a foot problem ruled him out for the season. And his absence was felt by the team. While Lucas Leiva has been a good player for Liverpool for more than 10 years now, his distributional skill isn’t the best feature of his game. Though Emre Can has done well in Henderson’s absence, there is still an X-factor that is absent in the German’s game play.
With Liverpool set to play many more games than what they did this time around, they will need more strength and depth in midfield if they are to compete on all fronts. Keita is someone who will fit the bill perfectly. Able to play in an advanced or a withdrawn role, and having been used to the high press system that Liverpool deploy under Jurgen Klopp, the 22-year old can add a lot of value to the midfield. The fact that he contributes goals and assists is a huge bonus.
While £50million may seem like a large investment for someone who has played just a season on the bigger stages, Liverpool need to break the bank for this one as they can reap the benefits of signing Keita for years to come. He has the quality to be the difference between a top-four finish and a title.
With strong interest from other clubs in the Guinean’s services, the Reds will need to act quickly and complete the signing of Keita.