Liverpool confirmed the $71.2 million signing of Naby Keita from RB Leipzig on Tuesday.
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Keita, 22, will join Liverpool next summer after the Reds met his release clause of $62 million and then paid close to an extra $10 million to get the deal done 12 months in advance.
The Guinea midfielder was a star for Leipzig in his first season in the Bundesliga last year with the upstarts finishing in second place in Germany’s top-flight and qualifying for the UEFA Champions League.
Ketia’s eight goals and seven assists from central midfield — Keita is very similar to an attack-minded N'Golo Kante — went a long way to helping them achieve that and he will now have one more season in Germany before joining Liverpool on July 1, 2018.
Speaking to Liverpool’s website, Keita was delighted to pass a medical and agree personal terms on Monday ahead of the announcement.
“I am delighted that an agreement has been reached which will allow me to join Liverpool Football Club next summer, when I will become part of a project that excites me greatly,” Keita said. “My commitment to RBL remains absolute for the remainder of my time at the club. I have given my all every time I have worn the shirt – that will be the case until the final whistle, in my final appearance. Having my future resolved means I can now focus on helping RBL achieve great things this season. Until I join my new club, next summer, I will remain an interested supporter from a distance.”
Keita will add plenty of industry to Liverpool’s midfield as the youngster is regarded as the top central midfield prospect in Europe.
Some are questioning why Liverpool are now splashing the cash on Keita, plus putting in a bid for Monaco’s Thomas Lemar, as Liverpool fans are worried Philippe Coutinho may well be sold to Barcelona in the final days of the window.
Whatever happens with Coutinho, signing Keita a year in advance for about $25 million less than the price being quoted to them for this summer is a bit of a bargain in the current market.