Liverpool Could Reportedly Sign Naby Keita in January for £13M Premium

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistJanuary 11, 2018

Leipzig's Guinean midfielder Naby Keita runs with the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match between VfL Wolfsburg and RB Leipzig on December 12, 2017 in Wolfsburg.
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        (Photo credit should read RONNY HARTMANN/AFP/Getty Images)
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Liverpool have been given a boost in their attempts to bring Naby Keita to Anfield in January as RB Leipzig have reportedly softened their position on the matter. 

According to German outlet Bild (via Ian Doyle in the Liverpool Echo), the German outfit are prepared to let the midfielder leave in the current transfer window if the Reds pay a premium of between €15 million and €20 million (£13 million and £17.5 million).

Previous reports suggested Leipzig were resistant to the idea of losing one of their best players six months before they initially planned, but the club now need to raise funds to comply with UEFA's financial fair play rules, per Doyle's report.

However, RB Leipzig manager Ralph Hasenhuttl said Keita will not leave in January, adding that "nothing has changed" and the club have no reason to sell, via Kaveh Solhekol of Sky Sports.

Last summer Liverpool agreed a deal worth over £50 million to sign Keita in July 2018.

The recent departure of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for £142 million has left the Reds lacking in star quality in the midfield, but their initial plans to persuade Leipzig to let Keita leave early looked to be in vain, per football writer Chris Williams:

Per Williams, though, the move is now a genuine possibility as Keita himself is keen for it to happen:

The arrival of the 22-year-old box-to-box star would be a big boost for Liverpool, especially after the disappointment of losing Coutinho, who has been the Reds' key player for the last three seasons.

Keita would not be a direct replacement for Coutinho. However, along with his defensive capabilities, the Guinea international is also comfortable on the ball and can be a huge asset going forward, per WhoScored.com:

He is one of the most complete midfielders in Europe and has the potential to become a talismanic presence at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp's squad is lacking in the engine room, but Keita could be the solution to that problem and could work effectively in a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 system at Liverpool.

His arrival in January would be a boon for the Reds, and it is looking an increasingly likely possibility.

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