Keita move 'in the balance'

This is a copy of an article by Melissa Reddy (click here for original article) in which she explains the current situation between Naby Keita and Liverpool. The reason why I am including it is because she got the Coutinho transfer spot on and there are many interesting details about an early Keita move in this explanation:

Leipzig consider letting Naby Keita join Liverpool in January

While the decision is still “in the balance", the Germans are open to bringing forward the midfielder's previously agreed summer move to Anfield

RB Leipzig are reluctant to sanction the early release of Naby Keita to Liverpool but with the player enthusiastic over a January switch and a further premium on offer, his immediate transfer is a growing possibility.

The midfielder already has a contract with the Anfield side that comes into effect on July 1, after both parties settled on a £57 million deal that could rise to £66m.

However, with Philippe Coutinho departing to Barcelona for a British record £142m and the Reds needing to inject some dynamism into midfield, negotiations have begun over bringing the arrangement forward.

A meeting between Keita and Leipzig will take place prior to the weekend, with a decision on how to progress currently understood to be “in the balance”. This discussion will significantly dictate the direction of matters.

Should there be progress, the payment structure of the agreement as it stands would need to be altered, given it is affixed to the German club’s finishing position in the Bundesliga.

Liverpool would also have to additionally incentivise Die Bullen – who would rather not cede Keita midway through the season – as well as the 22-year-old.

It is understood that the total transfer figure would have to be in the region of the Premier League side's record spend - the £75m which made Virgil van Dijk the world’s most expensive defender - to tempt Leipzig into allowing an earlier exit.

The monetary element is no issue for the Merseysiders, who are keen to come to another respectful conclusion with their counterparts.

Having worked so hard to reach a resolution at the end of August last year for this summer, there was every intention from all involved to honour the accord.

However, the Guinea international has grown tired of the criticism he has received in the campaign thus far, feeling he has been prejudiced by his advanced contract.

Despite reservations from Keita’s end over whether he would be best served having a full pre-season to settle in at Liverpool, the lynchpin wants to accept the responsibility of being a driving force in the centre of the park for them now.

He would be unavailable in the Champions League, but can bolster Jurgen Klopp's domestic objectives.

Furthermore, Leipzig, who were initially completely opposed to the idea, are realising as Liverpool did with Coutinho, Southampton did with van Dijk and Arsenal are with Alexis Sanchez during this window, that it is perhaps better to accede to a player’s wish for a good price than to go against it.

CEO Oliver Mintzlaff revealed in a recent interview with BILD that “Naby could hardly accept that we would not let him go” in the previous window and “so it was up to us to find a sensible solution". That is again the case.

Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuttl, meanwhile, will continue to consider Keita for selection. "We've always said that there is no reason for us to let him go earlier," he noted. "So he will play at the weekend against Schalke."

The crux of the issue, for me, is whether it's worth paying £13m extra to bring in Keita for the rest of the season? In a normal situation I'd be very doubtful but I believe this season is so pivotal to Liverpool's progression it's a price worth paying. It's essential that Liverpool extend their presence in the Champions League to another season, to secure finance and player interest, so any factor that assists that aim should be utilised. It's better to have Keita and not need him than not have Keita and need him. When Liverpool are making record transfers £13m does not seem that substantial, even if until relatively recently it was. In a league where any of the top six can realistically finish in the top four any potential advantage that is offered should be taken.

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  • It has to be looked at as a no-brainer, if we can get him in now for an extra 13 mill then that's what should happen. Not only is he a quality player and is desperate for the move to happen now it will give the other players a lift after the departure of Coutinho. We know he's cup tied for the CL which is a big pity but he could still help us secure a top 4 finish which like every season is vital. I say if get him in now if possible, no doubt FSG can afford an extra 13 mill.

    • If the worst happens - we lose Can and don't make any more signings - our first team midfielders would consist of Henderson, Lallana, Wijnaldum, Milner and Oxlade-Chamberlain (with Grujic, Ejaria and Wilson as probable backup). We're still playing in three competitions and at least two of those starting five midfielders are not up to full speed yet. I can't imagine how Klopp could think this is a reasonable situation to be in going forward. Whatever happens I can't see how he can avoid making at least one quality midfield signing and this opportunity with Keita could be his get-out-jail-free card.

  • I agree with Melissa that we are at a pivotal moment.  With the signing of VVD we have moved a step nearer getting the spine of the team right.  A top keeper and a couple of midfielders would complete that process.  To attract the top talent we must have top 4 at the end of this season.  Coutinho is a big loss and only partially compensated by the arrival of VVD to strengthen the defence.  Bringing Keita in early would arguably make us stronger in the second half of the season than the first despite the loss of our number 10.  So I would say go ahead and pay what it takes if Leipzig are willing to negotiate.  If we end up unable to bring Keita or anyone else in then we will have to hope either Ox or Lallana or both have an incredible second half of the season as we can't just rely on the front 3.

  • I agree with you Uncle that Melissa. Reddy is usually accurate in her reporting. Like me she is also South African and a Liverpool supporter although she doesn't let her support of LFC interfere in her job. I can take heart by her article on the Keita transfer issue but I have no idea what was meant by Leipzig`s position in the Bundesliga and Die Bullen must be incentivised otherwise the rest makes perfect sense
    • It appears, and this isn't unusual, that Liverpool would have to pay a differing fee for Keita depending on where Leipzig finish in the league because the higher up the league Leipzig finish the greater an asset Keita becomes, for example if they were to win the Bundesliga (unlikely) Keita's market value would be greater than if they were to come fifth. Of course, it works both ways, Keita's market value could dip should Leipzig bomb, so this type of clause adjusts for market value in pre-agreements.

      If were were to obtain Keita early elements of the incentives in the existing pre-agreement would have to be renegotiated to compensate Leipzig for not having the use of their asset in the second half of this season.
    • This gets complicated, you are telling me something I never knew. There could be any number of permutations now. Its possible the final figure can only be determined when the sesaon ends. No wonder so many deals fall thru
    • I suppose if you're dealing with the kind of sums involved in transfers these days saving a percent here and there equals hundreds of thousands of pounds, if not millions. It explains why contract negotiations can be so difficult and drawn out, the variety of clauses can be astonishing.
    • In this case it has now become much much more complicated. How the heck does one define a player`s market value if he is not around. Klopp must be 100% positive that Keita is the `one` to have such a transfer deal drawn up well in advance that's become what it is now with Coutinho gone. Like someone quipped on here `Klopp always gets his man` let's hope it pans out.
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