Liverpool were dealt a significant blow in their transfer plans this summer after RB Leipzig rejected their €75m bid for Naby Keita.
Keita scored eight goals and provided eight assists in his debut season for Leipzig as the Bundesliga debutants finished second last season. His contract runs until 2020, and while there is a £48m release clause in the contract, but that can be only unlocked next summer.
It was known that the Reds were keen on signing the player and had been pursuing him despite repeated declarations from the Bundesliga runners-up that the 22-year-old is not for sale.
However, it was almost apparent to all except Liverpool that Leipzig does not wish to release the player. Leipzig were not open to negotiations despite issued a €75m offer for Keita, an amount more than double the record transfer fee Liverpool had spent on Mohamed Salah.
Leipzig owner Dietrich Mateschitz, reportedly told German tabloid Sport Bild: “We don’t sell any of our players just to get money. Lately we got a €75m offer for Naby Keita. No way! He has a contract and he will fulfil it.”
“To sell him would not only be a proof of distrust to our fans but also the wrong sign for our players like Timo Werner, who is in demand too.”
Although Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has refused to give up on his first-choice targets so far — including Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk for central defence — but admitted after the friendly at Wigan Athletic on Friday that his patience was not limitless.
Still, there are suggestions Keita’s agent is in Hong Kong — where Liverpool are playing in a pre-season tournament — to talk to the club and Klopp about whether they will file another bid to the Bundesliga runners-up.