Liverpool reportedly have a personal agreement in place with RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita to sign the midfielder this summer amid speculation the German club value their star at £70 million—although they do not want to sell.
ESPN FC presenter and pundit Gabriele Marcotti said on Friday that the Reds have already reached an agreement with Keita personally, although no conclusion has been reached with Leipzig in regards to a fee:
The Guinea international was a major driving force behind Leipzig's surprise second-place finish in the German top flight last season, and The Mirror's David Anderson wrote the Reds want to get a deal done this summer.
Anderson noted that Liverpool already broke their transfer record this summer after Egyptian Mohamed Salah arrived from AS Roma for £36.9 million, and he said they're willing to do so again in order to land Keita's services.
Keita's valuation is a steep price to pay for a player with only one season's experience in one of Europe's five major leagues, although Bleacher Report's Jack Lusby has already deemed the target worthy of such an expense:
He joined Die Roten Bullen from Leipzig's sister club, Red Bull Salzburg, last summer and quickly thrived in the Bundesliga, scoring eight goals and recording eight assists in 31 league appearances.
Liverpool have formed a midfield core around captain Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Emre Can when all assets are fit, but there's no doubting Keita could provide a new attacking dimension to the engine room.
Ex-Liverpool midfielder Don Hutchison recently suggested a successful move for Keita could push the Reds, who finished fourth in the Premier League last season, back into title-winning territory, such is his talent:
There's no denying manager Jurgen Klopp will need to add quality to his squad ahead of the club's return to the UEFA Champions League, and the former Borussia Dortmund chief has looked to his native Germany for transfers in the past.
The Merseysiders' chances of recruiting Keita following such a successful season with Leipzig were recently set back by comments the midfielder gave regarding his future transfer intentions, per Spanish daily Sport.
He said: "I dream of playing for one of the big clubs. I love the city of Leipzig, and I will never forget this city. I think that in a couple of years or three, I will have the level to play for one of the biggest clubs. That includes Barcelona, but also Real Madrid and Manchester City, too."
The young dynamo may, therefore, bide his time in Leipzig and opt to remain with the club for their journey into European competition before holding out for a bigger move down the line.