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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Liverpool will wait until next summer for Keita

Naby Keita. Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images
Naby Keita. Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Liverpool look set to land long-term target Naby Keita from Red Bull Leipzig in a deal that will see the midfielder stay in the Bundesliga until next summer.

Reports in Germany and England have claimed the transfer has been agreed, and that Liverpool will pay a premium on top of a £48million buy-out clause which comes into effect next year to bring the Guinea international to Anfield.

According to German newspaper Bild, Liverpool will pay €75million (£69.4million) should Leipzig qualify for next season's Champions League, €70million (£64.8million) if Leipzig secure a Europa League place, or €65million (£60.2million) should they fail to earn a place in Europe.

Reports have claimed the 22-year-old has already undergone a medical with the Merseysiders and will officially sign on July 1, 2018.

Liverpool have yet to comment on the reports. Neither they nor Leipzig have denied the widely reported claims regarding the deal.

Liverpool were heavily linked with Keita earlier in the summer but no deal materialised despite a reported bid of £66million.

At the time, Leipzig issued a strong statement insisting Keita would not be sold this year, but it seems they may be powerless to prevent him moving next summer if the release clause is met.

Yesterday's reported development would indicate Liverpool have accepted defeat in their attempts to recruit Keita for the current season but that their interest is sufficiently strong to deem the player worth waiting for.

Keita impressed last season as Leipzig finished second in the Bundesliga and qualified for the Champions League.

Reports have also claimed Liverpool could make a £60million bid for Monaco midfielder Thomas Lemar before Thursday's transfer deadline.

This summer's transfer window has been a mixed affair for Liverpool and their manager Jurgen Klopp. As well as their previous Keita frustration, efforts to sign Virgil van Dijk from Southampton collapsed.

They have also repelled repeated efforts from Barcelona to take playmaker Philippe Coutinho to the Nou Camp.

Klopp has so far recruited Mohamed Salah, Andy Robertson and Dominic Solanke.

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