Liverpool are expected to increase their bid for RB Leipzig midfield talisman Naby Keita. The Reds have already seen an offer rejected by the Bundesliga club but could reportedly go as high as £65 million to try to get a deal done.
A report from James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo has detailed the latest developments regarding both Keita and Robertson. Dealing with Keita first, Pearce said the "Echo understands the Reds will test RB Leipzig's resolve once again having had an initial bid of £57million for Keita rejected last week."
In an obvious boost for Liverpool's chances of landing the player, Pearce also made it clear Keita wants the move, with an improved offer expected: "The Guinea midfielder is desperate to sign for Liverpool and has urged Leipzig to grant him his dream move to Anfield. The hope is that a fee of around £65 million (€75 million) will convince the Bundesliga outfit to do business."
It's a hefty fee, but former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann believes Keita is worth it, per Gerard Brand of Sky Sports. Yet Hamann does have one reservation about any deal for Keita.
Specifically, he worries Liverpool don't have the right defensive-minded holding midfielder to support Keita's forward-thinking instincts, per Brand: "Jordan Henderson, Emre Can, I think they're offence-minded players, and it will be interesting to see how Liverpool will shape up if he does come."
Hamann's concerns about the lack of destructive tendencies in the Liverpool midfield could increase with Lucas Leiva reportedly set for the exit door. The Brazilian has been given "permission to speak to Lazio after the two clubs agreed a €5.5 million (£5 million) transfer fee," per Football-Italia.net.
If Lucas does move to Serie A, Liverpool will have even less defensive resources in the middle. Speaking of the Italian top flight, the Reds could yet face competition from the division for Keita's signature.
The Reds are unlikely to give up on Keita without a fight. After all, the Merseyside club has already bid £57 million for the all-action midfielder, an offer quickly swatted away, per German publication Bild (h/t Chris Beesley of the Liverpool Echo).
It's safe to assume the Reds will consider it worthwhile to up their bid if it means seeing off the competition for a player they covet.
One more player firmly on Liverpool's radar is Robertson. Pearce has reported talks are progressing, with Spaniard Alberto Moreno expected to make way for the Scotland international.
However, Pearce did point out the Reds will likely have to wait before welcoming their newest recruit: "The deal for Robertson won't go through in time for the Scotland international to fly off with the Reds squad to Hong Kong on Sunday, but the 23-year-old increasingly looks Anfield bound."
Signing a new left-back is something of a must for Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp this summer. He deployed converted midfielder James Milner in the position last season with mixed results.
Moreno's struggles have also meant the Liverpool back four has lacked balance, with an absence of natural width and supply from the left flank.
Fortunately, Robertson could provide both after scoring once and providing a pair of assists during Hull's ultimately doomed fight against relegation last season, per WhoScored.com.
Given how Klopp has loaded his midfield and forward lines with central players such as Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino, the Reds are increasingly reliant on their full-backs for width.
Klopp's high-intensity pressing game also relies on energetic contributors in midfield. Keita fits the bill, but Liverpool are still likely to struggle to get a deal over the line for a player whose club is determined not to sell him on the cheap.