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Liverpool target Naby Keita will ‘100 percent’ stay at Leipzig

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The likelihood Naby Keita will leave RB Leipzig for Liverpool — or any other club, for that matter — this summer is nonexistent, according to Leipzig manager Ralph Hasenhuttl.

[ MORE: Saturday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

Liverpool’s pursuit of the 22-year-old Guinean midfielder dates back to the start of the summer transfer window and includes a series of failed bids, the most recent of which (and final?) for $86 million.

As far as Hasenhuttl’s concerned, Jurgen Klopp and Co. have been afforded sufficient time to pursue a player who still has three more years remaining on his current contract; Case opened, and case closed — quotes from the Guardian:

“The chance [of Keita leaving] is null. It’s 100 percent clear that Naby will play this year in Leipzig. At the beginning of the transfer period we said we would start with the same team and of the players we had last year no one will go. That would be our answer now also.

“For us everyone can see how important Naby Keita is for our game. It’s 100 percent sure that he will be with RB Leipzig in the Champions League.”

“I said for all the players it is very important to stay together as it’s the first time we play Champions League and that is a new situation for every one of us. We have very young players and I think for them it is very important to play the first year in the Champions League as a team. We will learn this very much again this year.

“Keita is more focused on us and has more fun now than last year. He knows this season will be fantastic for us. To play Champions League for Naby Keita is a great thing.”

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Coutinho to Barcelona, Perisic latest

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There’s just 13 days until the start of the Premier League season, and teams are gearing up to bolster their squads through last minute deals. While the players will have little time to become acclimated to their new homes, transfers in these final days could prove to be vital nonetheless.

Barcelona has been reportedly pursuing Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho, but Liverpool has repeatedly turned down their advances, claiming Coutinho is not for sale at any price. Nevertheless, the rumors persist, as they always do. According to a number of reports over the past few days, Barcelona could try to tempt the Reds with the addition of midfielder Ivan Rakitic to the deal, but these swap suggestions rarely come to fruition.

The most recent update came from Barcelona president  Josep Bartomeu, but he didn’t say much. Talking to Spanish publication Sport, Bartomeu said, “He’s a Liverpool player and I have a lot of respect for Liverpool, which we do in the summer is to be very discreet about everything, so we can not confirm or deny anything.”

Inter attacker Ivan Perisic has been heavily linked to Manchester United in recent days, but the Italian club has hardened its stance. Perisic started and scored the winner in Inter’s 2-1 preseason victory over Chelsea in the International Champions Cup, helping squelch the rumors.

Going even further were the words of Inter boss Luciano Spaletti, who claimed, “There has been no more significant contact [from outside clubs] in the last few weeks [regarding Perisic],” he told Internazionale’s official website. “So for me the conversation is over. The more days that go by, the more difficult it becomes for us to replace him and therefore I would strongly oppose his departure.”

Roma has been linked to Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez as the Italian side looks to ease the loss of Mohamed Salah. Just yesterday, rumors of a new bid were abound. But today, those were squashed by the supposed buyers.

“In the case of Mahrez it’s become public knowledge, with others it hasn’t. We’ve made two offers, the second is fair and then we stopped,” said Roma sporting director Monchi. “We’re not just working on one name. It’s logical, we have different options.”

Similar to the Mahrez news is that of a rumored Premier League addition in Naby Keita. Liverpool has been after the RB Leipzig midfielder for some time, but with the German club reluctant to sell at a reasonable price, the Reds have been successfully warded off.

According to a report by ESPNFC, Liverpool will retain interest in the player but has backed off for this summer. According to the report, Keita’s contract has a release clause of $63 million, but it does not come into fruition until next summer. However, there is risk that waiting until Keita plays a season in the Champions League could mean increased competition for his signature next summer, should he perform well.

The report says that Liverpool had a pair of bids rejected by the German club, the second of which was well above next summer’s release clause, meaning RB Leipzig is willing to forego significant amounts of money to hold onto the 22-year-old.

Liverpool target Naby Keita involved in horror tackle

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This could be quite disturbing.

RB Leipzig’s training session was cut short on Monday after Liverpool target Naby Keita, who Leipzig insist is not for sale, reportedly clattered into Diego Demme with a “horror tackle.”

The challenge was so bad it ended the session and photos have shown Demme leaving the pitch with the help of others and his knee bandaged up.

Keita, 22, is said to want out of Leizpig and the Guinea international wants to join Liverpool who have reportedly had a $85.9 million bid turned down from the box-to-box midfielder. Keita has a release clause of $62.5 million in his contract, but that doesn’t kick in until next summer.

Until we know all the facts about what happened, this could have just been a routine training ground tackle which Keita mistimed.

That said, given all of the current speculation around his future and the player also said to be extremely frustrated with Leipzig’s stance, cynics out there are suggesting this could be one way of Keita forcing through a move to Liverpool.



RB Leipzig turn down Liverpool’s $86 million Keita bid

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RB Leipzig is holding firm over Naby Keita as Liverpool push hard to try and sign the Guinea midfielder.

[ MORE: 15 years of Mourinho at United?

Keita, 22, has been chased all summer long by Jurgen Klopp but Liverpool have been knocked back on several occasions when bidding for Keita.

Owner Dietrich Mateschitz revealed to German outlet Bild that Leipzig have turned down a huge offer for Keita, believed to be from Liverpool.

“We do not sell players who are still under contract just to make a lot of money,” Mateschitz said. “Recently we got a 75 million euro offer for Naby Keita. No way! He still has a contract and he will fulfill it. To sell him would not only be a proof of distrust for our fans, but also a wrong sign for our other players, such as Timo Werner, who is also in demand.”

This is another blow for Liverpool in the transfer market this summer as Klopp has pursued both Keita and Virgil Van Dijk without success.

Yes, the Reds are aiming high and are willing to spend big for two of the brightest talents when it comes to center backs and center midfielders in Europe, but at one point or another surely Klopp and his staff have to move on.

The German coach has already indicated he is willing to be patient to land his top targets but with Southampton said to be unwilling to sell Van Dijk, especially after Liverpool apologized for their earlier pursuit of the player, and Leipzig taking a similar stance over Keita, how long can they really wait?

Winning their UEFA Champions League playoff games to reach the group stage may see the Reds take one last shot at both Van Dijk and Keita with huge offers, but then value for money comes into the equation and it’s very unlikely Liverpool are getting that with both players set to cost a combined total of over $170 million.

Keita would improve their midfield but with Jordan Henderson and Emre Can around, do the Reds need another box-to-box player? They certainly need a new center back and with Hull’s Andrew Robertson said to be closing in on a move to Liverpool, James Milner will have competition at left back. Klopp is addressing his main needs this offseason, but with only Dominic Solanke and Mohamed Salah arriving so far, there are gaping holes in Liverpool’s defense.

RB Leipzig boss on Liverpool target Keita: We won’t let key players go

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RB Leipzig is a new club with massive ambition. Much to the chagrin of many fans, Leipzig has gone from nothing to a UEFA Champions League club in under a decade.

When we say nothing, we mean nothing. Leipzig didn’t exist until 2008, but massive investment has helped the new boys rocket to second place in the Bundesliga, 18 points clear of fifth place.

Forward Timo Werner got a lot of the headlines, but it’s hard to look past influential midfield duo Emil Forsberg and Naby Keita as the prime reasons for Leipzig’s success.

The 25-year-old Forsberg is a left-sided player, mostly in the midfield, while 22-year-old Keita is a menace who functions anywhere in the midfield.

Even those who’ve never seen Keita play will know his name from the transfer rumor mill, with Jurgen Klopp said to be a massive admirer of the Guinean. Keita posted eight goals and eight assists last season, and reportedly has a release clause of more than $60 million that will go into effect next summer.

So, naturally, many expected Leipzig to cash in on both players. But Forsberg has a contract through 2022 and Keita, 2020. Keita reportedly wants a move to Liverpool, and a report claimed the Leipzig president wouldn’t stand in his way.

But sporting director Ralf Rangnick, who used to manage the club, says the opposite.