According to a number of reports, despite opposition to the idea earlier in the season, RB Leipzig are now open to selling Naby Keita to Liverpool in the January window for an additional premium.
Back in November, the club publicly expressed its desire to keep the 22-year-old midfielder for the entire season, citing the desire to secure a place in Europe for next year. But now, even despite a clogged and bitter fight for the top spots in the Bundesliga table, reports suggest Liverpool could yet make a January move for Keita.
Liverpool has already agreed to a $75 million transfer for Keita that has been scheduled for this coming summer. However, according to German publication Bild released on Thursday, an additional $12-18 million could be tacked on to bring Keita to Liverpool. That money could come from the massive $192 million that Liverpool banked when sending Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona.
The report also states that Keita has been “considered isolated” in the squad due to his desire to switch his German language classes to English and with his future already decided, he is considered already a Liverpool player by other RBL players.
Now, there are others that say Keita’s last game with RBL will be Saturday’s road trip to Freiburg, and that he will move to Liverpool after that. According to The Express, Keita has registered his own personal business in England, and other journalists including Raphael Honigstein and Chris Williams have expressed their own reports on social media.
A switch to Anfield would mean the end of Keita’s European campaign, as he is already Cup-tied to RBL after their elimination in the group stages. However, he could fill Coutinho’s role in midfield, and while more of a traditional central midfielder, Keita would still be a big addition to Liverpool’s fight for a Champions League place in the Premier League table. RBL is also fighting for its European survival, in the midst of a massive logjam in the Bundesliga table. Behind leaders Bayern Munich with 44 points and Schalke in second with 30, Leipzig is one of six teams with either 26 or 28 points, with another two sitting back on 24 and another one on 23.
MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich signed Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka on Friday on a free transfer from Bundesliga rival Schalke effective from next season.
Bayern said the 22-year-old Goretzka signed a four-year deal from July 1 through June 2022.
Schalke, which Goretzka joined in 2013 from hometown club Bochum, said the player informed the club this week of his wish to join Bayern when his contract expired.
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“We think we did everything in the last months to convince Leon to stay with us,” Schalke sporting director Christian Heidel said. “In the end, it wasn’t enough.”
Schalke had long been engaged in trying to get Goretzka to extend his contract, but was aware of reported interest from Bayern, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Liverpool.
“We’re very happy that Leon Goretzka, a German international with big potential, has decided in favor of Bayern despite big-name international competitors. This way it’s ensured that Leon Goretzka remains in the Bundesliga,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.
Goretzka scored 19 goals and set up 13 more in 130 appearances for Schalke.
The club had previously expressed its displeasure with Bayern making public statements about its player after Goretzka was praised by sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic and coach Jupp Heynckes.
Heidel said “we don’t need to hear every day from the Munich people how good our player is.”
Goretzka has six goals in 12 games for Germany.
The most famous soccer player in the world had a scare last night as he was hospitalized in Brazil for “severe exhaustion.”
Pele, 77, was set to travel to London this weekend to be honored by the Football Writers Association, though it looks like that trip has now been postponed.
In the early hours of Thursday morning, Pele collapsed and was taken to a hospital in Brazil where he has undergone a series of tests which appear to point to severe exhaustion,” a FWA statement said. “He remains on fluids while doctors monitor his recovery.
“Thankfully, there is no suggestion of anything more serious than exhaustion.”
Here’s to hoping Pele makes a full recovery.
[MORE: USMNT centerback heads to Championship club]
Cameron Carter-Vickers has a new club to call home for the next five months or so after a rough first half of the season.
Tottenham announced Friday morning that it had loaned the U.S. Men’s National Team centerback to Championship club Ipswich Town for the rest of the season. Carter-Vickers spent the first five months of the season at fellow Championship side Sheffield United, starting 17 times though he struggled recently as Sheffield won just one game he played in during the month of December, losing three and drawing one.
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Carter-Vickers was then recalled earlier this week and now has a new home with a mid-table Championship club, with a new chance to impress. Hopefully Carter-Vickers can recover his form and continue to grow, potentially latching on to another Premier League side next year or breaking into the Tottenham first team.
There’s another interesting American tie-in to this. Carter-Vickers appears to be a short-term replacement for Ipswich Town’s Tommy Smith, who the club states is headed to join the Colorado Rapids ahead of the 2018 MLS season.
The player-swap/trade/transfer between Arsenal and Manchester United still appears to be heading towards completion, but it was further delayed Friday.
Multiple reports in England state that while Alexis Sanchez seems set to move to Manchester United, Henrik Mkhitaryan has yet to agree to move the other way, as talks between the player’s agent and Arsenal continue. Mkhitaryan was seen training at Manchester United’s practice facility on Friday, and because the latest delay, both players would be unable to debut for their new teams this weekend after missing the Premier League registration deadline.
[MORE: JPW’s Premier League picks]
Arsenal hosts Crystal Palace Manchester United travels to Burnley, both on Saturday at 10 a.m. (Watch Arsenal live on CNBC, Manchester United live on NBCSN, and both live on NBCSports.com)
The London Evening Standard reports that Mkhitaryan would command a $242,000-per-week salary but that as of Friday morning he had yet to undergo a medical for the transfer. Arsenal reportedly still wants a transfer fee included for Sanchez, while Manchester United would prefer to just swap the two players.
It’s also looking as if that won’t be Arsenal’s only business in the transfer market. While it seemed like a far-fetched rumor at first, the links between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Arsenal have only grown stronger in the past few days, and the Gabon international appears to be in the Gunners sights. It appears that Bordeaux’s young striker Malcolm is now off the table.